Obama Baracks Akron

“After months of hearing themes of the Ohio primary closing the deal on the democratic nomination, a candidate finally made an appearance in Ohio-more specifically, in Akron. More than 6,000 people waited hours in line just to catch a glimpse of democratic hopeful Barack Obama, who had a rally in the John S.”

After months of hearing themes of the Ohio primary closing the deal on the democratic nomination, a candidate finally made an appearance in Ohio-more specifically, in Akron.

More than 6,000 people waited hours in line just to catch a glimpse of democratic hopeful Barack Obama, who had a rally in the John S. Knight Center on Saturday. University of Akron students Patrick Starvaggi and Steven Bacher were among those to wait.

I was there at 2:15, so I was outside for two hours and inside for two and a half, Starvaggi said. It was totally worth it, because we were close.

A large truck with the single word, hope, rested in the corner of the center. As people waited for the candidate, the slogan could easily be read in their faces. They were hoping for something different, something new, something they had waited a lifetime to experience.

As Secret Service agents loomed in the background, shouts of O-bam-a and Yes, we can rang from the growing crowd. Tom Sawyer, a state senator, gave a short speech while the crowd waited for Obama who was more than an hour late for his scheduled appearance.

It’s time to start thinking about tomorrow, Sawyer said. I believe Barack Obama is our only choice if we want change.

By the time the classic Obama opening song You’re so Beautiful by U2 began to play, the crowd was more than ready to see a person in their hometown who could become the next president of the United States. The applause was deafening.

Microphone trouble did not keep Obama from making his point.

The American people are looking for a different type of politics, a politics that was not based on tearing each other down, but on lifting the country up, he said. When I decided to run, it was because I believed in the American people. Ordinary people can do extraordinary things when given a chance.

Obama made a point to address every issue that the media both supported and criticized him for. Beginning with his original well-known opposition of the Iraq war, he also mentioned special interest groups and his refusal to accept any type of funding from them.

Their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over, he said. They have not funded my campaign, and they will not run my White House.

The crowd also responded well to his concern for Darfur and his views on higher education.

I want to make college affordable for everyone in America, he said.

According to Obama, he would provide college tax credit of $4,000 per year, which conveniently rides ahead of Hillary Clinton’s promised $3,500. The credit, he said, would be available to any student, provided some type of community service is accomplished.

Though he did not bring out a strong attack on Clinton, Obama did mention the differences between their health care programs.

She will, in her own words, ‘go after your wages’ if you cannot afford insurance, Obama said.

Obama also defended arguments Clinton and his other opponents stressed against him. He especially focused on the contention that he was too inexperienced for presidency, or in Clinton’s words, ‘not tough enough.’

I’m skinny, but I’m tough, he said. I’m from Chicago.

He addressed Republican John McCain, admitting that although he has a great deal of respect for the Arizona senator, there was a significant difference between their respective policies.

McCain is defending the policies of the past, he said. I’m defending the policies of the future.

Obama accepted the reality that his plans for the future would be a challenge.

I know how hard it is going to be, he said. But nothing worthwhile in this country has ever happened until someone was willing to hope.

He’s a very inspiring speaker, and definitely showed that he can change our country, said Bacher after the speech.

The dude is amazing, Starvaggi agreed. It’s like seeing or meeting your favorite band and finding out that they are just as sweet in person. It’s wonderful, for a change, to feel a tinge of what one might call patriotism.

This is our home, and this is our time, Obama said. We will change the world.


” #1.1361262:1426861233.jpg:20080226_front cover_v1_md.jpg:Senator Barack Obama (D-Il) spoke to a full house Saturday at the John. S. Knight Center on Mill Street. :Melissa Dunfee”