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Decision '08: Obama Officially Joins the Field

 article about Decision 08: Obama Officially Joins the Field
2007-02-13 03:07:43

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Feb. 10 Much to the surprise of at least two people on the scene, freshman Senator Barack Obama announced he will run for President. The 45-year-old stood at a podium by the Old State Capitol where Abe Lincoln once stood to begin his political career, although the two men were dressed entirely different for the similar occasion.

Also, Lincoln was a Republican, which many in the crowd who support Obama, refuted.

One man said that Lincoln could not have been Republican because "Lincoln freed the slaves and no Republican ever would have done that."

Another person, this one an African-American woman who looked to be in her late 60s but swore she was only 45, said, "I don't believe Abe Lincoln was a Republican and I never will, even if history tells me to believe it. Why should our beloved senator, who is a Democrat, do what a Republican would do? Huh?"

But Obama seemed to bridge the gap between parties, as well as politicians, when he said, "The time for that politics is over. It is through. It's time to turn the page."

An Illinois congressman in the crowd applauded when Obama said those words. Later, the congressman said, "He is very clear when he says it is over. You can tell that because right after he said it was over he said it is through. Over and through are united in definitions."

Senator Dick Durben, in the crowd and wearing furry gloves that some speculate were a present to him from a loved one, said, "He represents unity."  

For most people following the early but busy 2008 Presidential campaign, Obama's announcement today was moot because Obama already has been acting as if he had been running. A source close to a Democrat Party official, told me that Obama didn't want people to feel that he was moot about running for the land's highest office. The source said, "Obama is not the kind of person, much less a public representative, who likes anything to be moot. In fact, he is preparing a speech to give in Iowa that condemns the very concept of moot. Some people in the Obama camp feel that if elected, he may develop a Department of Anti-Mootness and invoke heavy fines."

Unlike Senator Durben, Obama was gloveless as he mentioned a speech Lincoln gave in the same spot in 1858. Then, Lincoln condemned slavery, saying "a house divided against itself cannot stand." However, history writes that Lincoln did not give his speech in frigid weather but still wore gloves.

Later, Obama said, "I wasn't too cold," and it was learned that a heating device had been placed at his feet, where no one could see how warm his feet became.

Mr. Obama also said that his campaign was more as a movement than anything else and everyone applauded, since movement on a day as cold as this day was what everyone needed. "Each and every time," Obama said, "a new generation has risen up and done what's needed to be done. Today we are called once more and it is time for our generation to answer that call."

After the speech, I went out for lunch with former Democratic vice president Walter Mondale and the former senator from Colorado, Gary Hart. They said they were both impressed with Obama's speech but were not in the mood for grilled cheese or bacon. Also, not one mention of Hillary Rodham Clinton was made at lunch.

Still considered the front-runner, Hillary Rodham Clinton was in New Hampshire when Obama gave his speech in Illinois. A spokesperson for a source that is close to Mrs. Clinton told me that Mrs. Clinton was not please at being called "a big obstacle" by reporters covering the Obama speech. "The senator [Clinton] is quite aware of the size of her hips," said the source's source, "and when she hears a term like 'big obstacle' her feelings get hurt."

No matter, it is widely accepted that Mrs. Clinton's big problem getting the nomination now is Senator Obama. But some people are reminding other people that Senator John Edwards is well ahead in the Iowa polls and that Edwards could probably beat Obama in an arm-wrestle, should that become a necessary event in the process of attaining the nomination.

Mr. Obama's campaign will begin working on his presidential campaign in Iowa because they feel the Iowa caucuses will be the first test for the nomination in both parties. Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Edwards will also be on the caucus ballots in Iowa, where six out of every seven people do not know the definition of the word "caucus."

Mr. Obama's aides are said to believe that he has a big advantage over Mrs. Clinton because Mr. Obama opposed the war from before the war started, beating even those who opposed the war when it started.

But now that he is officially a candidate, insiders of both parties know the hard road ahead is paved with broken glass, sharp rocks and mud-slinging. "His easy times are over," said one insider who has been known to dig up some terrible things about candidates in the past and talked to me under the condition of anonymity and that I dance with him on St. Patrick's Day, 2007. "Once the dirty hands of political campaigning get a hold of Mr. Squeaky Clean, it won't matter if he came out against the war before Sept. 11, 2001."

Though the tide of popular opinion and the freshness of Mr. Obama's face is currently a wave of new hope and promise, the next few months are bound to bring rocky times and depressing moments, especially since there will be debates and Obama will find himself in a tight smiling contest against Mr. Edwards.

Senators Biden and Dodd, who have also announced their candidacy, were not even sought after today by reporters, most of who feel the duo should save the car fare to Iowa.


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