Live-blogging the Obama announcement
Saturday, Feb 10, 2007
Obama speech pt. 1/4
Obama speech pt. 2/4
Obama speech pt. 3/4
Obama speech pt. 4/4
Governor Blagojevich’s reaction:
Treasurer Giannoulias’s reaction:
* 7:30 AM - RICH MILLER: Downtown was crazy fun last night as parties raged everywhere and the locals prowled for celebrities. Dan Shomon’s party was top notch.
Satellite trucks line the streets, giant American flags are hanging from the building across from the Old State Capitol. Obama will address the crowd from the east side of the historic building, with the sun in his face.
The media horde has already begun to gather at the bitterly cold (8 degrees as of this moment) location, according to a friend who is there. The site was open to the press at 5 o’clock this morning so the TV types could jockey for position. They have three risers, which kinda aces out the print reporters. Radio reporters were grumbling yesterday that they weren’t given access to the tables unless they were broadcasting live, leaving some to wonder how they’d file.
The campaign ran out of media passes for non-traveling press last night, forcing some to come back early today to pick one up. By late yesterday, the campaign had received 500 credentials requests - which is unheard of for something like this. You get the distinct feeling that the campaign staff is completely overwhelmed by the response. Right now, it’s almost a purely volunteer operation and done on the fly.
Obama’s website had been criticized for being bland and uninteresting, but a new version is up today. Go check it out. It’s pretty good.
My next post will be from the site. Have a good morning.
* 9:00 AM - RICH MILLER: The crowds are growing larger but still not huge. There are tons of media. The governorâ€™s people have confirmed that he will be here for the program, but he will not be speaking.
* 9:08 AM - RICH MILLER: Advance copies of Obama speech are now out. From a glance the broad themes appear to be: unity, bipartisanship, and ending the war. The speech quotes Lincoln and talks about his own inexperience. It also mentions the great struggles that the country has been through together and how Obama would like to bring the nation together again.
* 9:26 AM - RICH MILLER: Turnout is increasing rapidly. They had held the crowd back to be sure that there would be a packed view for the cameras. But they have now opened the gate up to the front and spectators have filled it up. We are in an overflow situation right now.
* 9:34 AM - RICH MILLER: Last night, I had a cocktail with top Obama people; they didn’t know what to expect. We thought the weather would keep the local folks away, but wouldn’t deter anyone else. The overflow crowd keeps getting much bigger. They just keep coming.
* 9:38 AM - PAUL RICHARDSON: Watching from home, the coverage thus far has been unique. More than anything else there appears to be a local fascination with the presence of international media. Korean, Polish, and Swiss journalists have already been interviewed live by local media. The Polish journalist said he was here because it was the â€œbiggest story in the world right now.â€
* 9:42 AM - RICH MILLER: There are a small handful of protestors. A crowd of about 15 are being led by someone with a large American flag. They are all anti-abortion protestors, some with signs with pictures of aborted fetuses. There is also one anti-immigration protestor. They are behind the set up cameras and wontâ€™ be seen.
* 9:48 - RICH MILLER: The radio table has a huge propane heater. When I asked how they managed to pull that off, the radio guys said I was because their engineers are geniuses. It was supposedly brought to keep the equipment warm, but everyone is crowding around it now.
* 9:52 AM - RICH MILLER: The Governor just released a statement. He said that he was pleased to join many Illinoisans on this historic occasion. At the end of his statement he urged the legislature to immediately send him a bill to move the Illinois primary up to Feb 5th 2008 that will give Illinois voters the opportunity to support Barack Obama.
* 10:05 AM - RICH MILLER: The are playing U2 songs as Obama enters. Obama and Durbin recently met Sting in D.C.
* 10:08 AM - RICH MILLER: Key paragraph to speech: â€œI recognize there is a certain presumptuousness a certain audacity to this announcement. I know I havenâ€™t spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington, but I have been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change.
* 10:09 AM - RICH MILLER: The dozen or so pro-lifers have tried to get a chant going (â€œLife Yes, Obama Noâ€), but they have stopped after about 5-10 seconds. It is either because it is too cold or they want to hear the speech themselves.
* 10:12 AM - RICH MILLER: The protestors tried chanting again and were able to keep it going for about 45 seconds. The main sound system is not loud enough, so they can be heard.
* 10:25 AM - PAUL RICHARDSON: It appears that he is getting stronger as he continues through the speech; he seemed somewhat drained at the beginning. His energry and passion have picked up. The sincerity and honesty are more believable near the end.
* 10:43 AM â€“ RICH MILLER: A dominant theme in Obamaâ€™s speech was the discussion of generational lines. There were many references to â€œthisâ€ generation and a â€œnewâ€ generation. Yet, Obama doesnâ€™t seem to fit into any branded generation himself.
He is 45 years old- too young to be a baby boomer and too old to be a Gen Xer. Instead he is drawing on the idea of being a bridge between generations, capable of connecting the two divergent groups. Or perhaps Obamaâ€™s generational talk is meant to promote a â€œnewâ€ generation- a generation of change. He could talk of uniting differing groups into this new generation of transformation and challenge to the status quo.
* 10:49 AM - RICH MILLER: Security was very visible throughout the day, but it wasnâ€™t overly constrictive. According to the State police officers, security was a joint effort coordinated by the Springfield police, State police, and Secretary of State police.
* 11:33 AM - RICH MILLER: Police estimated the total crowd size at
* 1:14 PM - RICH MILLER: A few quick things before I wrap this up.
* The Springfield police, state police and SoS police did a very good job today. There was a big, gaping security hole, but it wasn’t the coppers’ fault. My brother got a press pass purely by showing a state ID to some Obama volunteers. Press was allowed to carry in bags and equipment. This needs to be addressed right away.
Devin just told me that the volunteers were also giving people press passes who had little point-and-shoot cameras who were obviously not affiliated with any media outlet. Not good.
* Paul did a remarkable job posting my dispatches from the field. I called them in and now that I look at them, they seem pretty darned accurate, considering time constraints, etc.
* To add a bit to what Paul had to say above about local reporters interviewing foreign reporters this morning, the opposite happened as well. Lots of overseas and “national” reporters were interviewing the local scribes.
* We had a communications breakdown with ArchPundit, but no biggie. I’m sure he’ll have plenty to say later on his blog.
* Some of us stayed toasty warm because we dressed for the occasion (I wore ice fishing socks, hiking boots, Carhartt longjohns, a winter hat, Thinsulate-lined leather gloves and a woolen Irish sweater). Others just about froze to death. One poor young lady from a downstate paper that we won’t name looked just about dead towards the end. Luckily, I brought extra hand warmers and she seemed to perk up a bit. This person seems to have trouble every time she comes to Springfield.
* I’ll be posting pics in a separate post in just a few minutes.
* Oh, one more thing. Sorry about that Clooney thing. I was told by a very high-level municipal official that he was heading out to have a drink with Clooney. Really? i said. Yes, he said. No kidding? I asked. No kidding, he assured. But not long after that, I decided to have Paul pull the post because I started to doubt the story.
*** Let’s close this one out and move the discussion over here. Thanks for all the comments on this thread, by the way. ***