ELECTION TAKES TOLL
photo by Katie Arquiette
Along the campaign trail, Presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama waits patiently as Vice Presidential candidate Senator Joe Biden delivers his speech to thousands of people at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg,VA on September 25. Obama and Biden have been traveling throughout the states making numerous stops in several of the country’s most sought after electoral votes as VA has progressed to become a powerful swing state in the 2008 Presidential Election.
DARK AND RAINS WILL
NEVER PASS, BUT
AS LONG AS
OBAMA TAKES ON FREDERICKSBURG
by KATIE ARQUIETTE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
I’ve never been particularly interested in politics. I’ve never really gone out of my way to watch the news or even read up on what’s happening except for when it was a school assignment. It’s not that I don’t care about the economy or national health care plans, it’s just that I always felt like I had so much to catch up on; so much information that I didn’t know and ultimately thought that it was crucial to my understanding of politics. However, this apathetic view of mine did a 360 degree turnaround when I received a phone call a few Saturdays ago from my journalism teacher Courtney McGonnell. I was on my way home from Richmond when she informed me that she had gotten me a press pass to cover the Senator Barack Obama rally at Mary Washington University. I was excited. No one important ever comes here, and this guy was running for President of the United States. Who wouldn’t be excited? The crowd was overwhelming, but I felt official pushing through it all, insisting that I was press and had to get to the entrance. Once at the press table, I signed in, got my bag checked, and proceeded to be searched by a hand-held metal detector. They handed me my pass and opened the gate; I was in. I felt like a tiny bee in a swarming hive; people were everywhere. Some were holding “Change” signs or posters while others danced to the upbeat campaign music. It was pretty intense. I couldn’t wait for all the speakers to come out, to hear the crowds reaction, and of course, to see the one and only presidential nominee. After about an hour of waiting in the pouring rain, the workers finally began to take down the stage. I hopped up on the press risers to take my position with the camera, and anxiously waited for everything to get rolling. At first, a few of Obama’s campaign managers and local politicians came out and basically hyped up the crowd. They talked about what Obama had been doing in his campaign, did some good bashing on McCain and rallied up the crowd; it definitely got me excited too. I was hoping Obama and Biden would come out right away, but it
took forever. I’m not sure if it was the excitement or what but I felt as if I were waiting for something that was never going to happen. Finally, a man from the New York Times who was stationed behind me, told me and my fellow staff member Emily to get ready because Obama and Biden were coming out. It was obvious when they began to walk up the ramp because the crowd literally exploded. Cameras flashed, signs waved, people cheered and everyone was jumping up and down like they were at a rock concert. I probably made the people around me annoyed because I kept on saying “Oh my gosh, it’s Obama!” and “I can’t believe it’s really him!” It was indescribable. Of course, the main topic of both Biden and Obama’s speeches was change; get Bush out of the White House and make everything kosher again. They mentioned the recent debate with McCain, and how Obama easily defeated him in almost every possible way. At every mention of McCain, there was an immediate and loud “Boo” and other negative cheers that echoed through the crowd. Due to the poor weather, the candidates also thought it would be funny to use some plays on words. They mentioned how the Democratic party could prevail through all the storm clouds and whatnot; it was quite amusing. Every time Obama mentioned a proposition or plan, he would begin by saying “When I become President…”, obviously he has a very positive outlook for the upcoming election and I honestly don’t blame him. I know it’s been said that Obama is a gifted speaker but coming into this experience I still had my doubts. I mean, how hard is it to read from a teleprompter? After seeing him, I have to agree with the majority; he is awesome. Obama literally connected with the crowd in every possible way from body language, speech and even eye contact. All I can say is wow. When Obama said his goodbye’s, I still wanted more. I don’t think I’ve ever been more motivated to go out and do something as I was during those moments after the rally. Being there made me want to be involved, to engage myself in the political world, and find more about this upcoming election.
5. 1. Vice presidential candidate Joe Biden delivers his speech at Mary Washington. 2. Obama speaks as Biden listens intently. 3. The crowd supports Obama through rain and shine. 4. Biden and Obama greet the crowd as they enter the rally. 5. Biden looks upon thousands of people who fought the torrential downpour. (PHOTOS BY KATIE ARQUIETTE AND JUSTIN JETT)
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