UPDATE: Obama wins it big! Thank you, Nebraska...
(Click on any of the below thumbnail photos to enlarge)
Event #1: 12,000 attend rally at Omaha Civic Auditorium (2/7/08)
Folks began lining up outside the Civic Auditorium at noon. We arrived at about 2pm. A few thousand people were there already. They told us my camera was too big to go in, but we smuggled it in anyway. To get onto the floor, you needed to go through metal detectors, so we took a seat in the first section of seats to the center-left of the stage. The place was packed and there was an excellent energy. Connor Oberst, of Bright Eyes and Saddle Creek Records fame, played a few songs to get things warmed up. After a bit of a wait, and several rounds of the wave, Mayor Fahey of Omaha introduced the governor of Iowa, who took the opportunity to endorse Obama. Next came Senator Ben Nelson, followed by the man himself, Barack. Obama spoke for about 45 minutes to an ecstatic audience. It was another soaring speech that hit all the right notes. It is clear that Obama is on his A game right now. He worked the crow with ease and grace. On the way out, there was a palpable energy and positivity in the crowd. Young people, old people, men and women, college students galore, African Americans, Latinos, whites, professionals, teachers and working-class folks, Democrats, Independents and more than a few Republicans, were all well-represented.
Event #2: Free Obama Concert by Bright Eyes w/ M. Ward at The Slowdown (2/7/08)
Omaha's claim to music fame these days is Connor Oberst and his group, Bright Eyes. Oberst is an excellent songwriter, if a bit morose. Bright Eyes records on Saddle Creak Records. Recently, Saddle Creak built a cool club, The Slow Down, near the Qwest Center in downtown Omaha. It is a great venue. Oberst got some friends together, including M. Ward, for a free Obama concert following the event at the Civic Center. There were more than 700 people (capacity and then some) at the show.
Event #3: Michelle Obama at the Lied Center in Lincoln, Nebraska (2/8/08)
Michelle Obama delivered a grand slam homerun of a talk. She spoke for about 40 minutes to an enthusiastic crowd of many hundred (the venue was filled). She really is impressive; I'd probably vote for her for president. She has been overlooked in this campaign and deserves more attention as a brilliant and successful woman, as well as a committed mother and wife. She models a really positive female identity!
Event #4: Street Rally for Obama in Lincoln, Nebraska (2/8/08)
From 6-8pm, along two full blocks of O Street, hundreds of students (and a smattering of older folks) stood holding signs, chanting, and soliciting honks from passing cars. Suffice it to say that it was a noisy two hours. The energy again was really positive. I've really never seen anything like this in a presidential campaign. People, particularly young people, but not exclusively young people, are really, really jazzed about the prospect of an Obama presidency. There is a palpable sense that history is being created at these events.
Event #5: The Caucus!
Event #6: The Democratic Caucus Party - Duggan's Pub, Lincoln, NE