Denver University was a raging hot spot of the state’s capitol city Wednesday morning, courtesy presidential hopeful Barack Obama.
Nearly 20,000 Obama supporters showed up to Magness Arena and waited more than an hour for the candidate who stopped outside of the building to talk to the half of the crowd that wouldn’t fit inside.
High from success in last weekend’s South Carolina primary, Obama turns his eyes to what many are calling Super Duper Tuesday, Feb. 4, on which 24 states, including Colorado make their choice for the presidential candidate in both parties.
Introduced by his latest endorser, Caroline Kennedy, Obama praised John Edwards, who dropped out of the race earlier in the morning, for separating himself from the political strife that has been driving the Obama and Hillary Clinton campaigns for the last few months.
“At a time when politics is too concerned with who’s up and who’s down, (Edwards) reminded us who matters,” Obama said.
With the Colorado caucus only six days away, Obama played to the sympathies of his youthful, idealistic base by promising an immediate troop pullout from Iraq and health care for every American by the end of his first term, if elected president.
But he also expressed an optimistic view on the future of the U.S. no matter the outcome of the 2008 election..
“This has been an amazing race with lots of twists and turns to come. But there is one thing we know for certain: the name George W. Bush will not be on the docket anymore. The name of my cousin Dick Cheney will not be on the docket anymore,” he said to thunderous applause.
Students and citizens from across the state showed up in great anticipation of seeing Obama, who many have compared to late President John F. Kennedy.
“I’m kind of freaking out,” said Claire Overturf, a liberal arts sophomore at CSU who went to the rally with CSU Students for Obama to sign voters up to support the candidate. “Ever since I saw the 2004 Democratic National Convention, I was like ‘oh my God, he should run for president,'”
Sign-up forms in hand, Overturf said she was on a mission to get students registered.
“We’re gonna assault every person who looks like they can vote,” she said.
Alix Oreck, 24, of Boulder, said Obama shows her a glimmer of hope in an increasingly hopeless world.
“We’ve got a candidate who speaks to us,” she said. “I feel like he’s the only one I can look in the eye and trust with my future.”
Jim Pearson, 66, of Colorado Springs, who broke his neck in a swimming accident, said Obama was a candidate he could trust to reform health care and put the country back on track. Pearson hailed Obama as a man “that has a chance of putting the country back together after Bush enrieched it.”
Citing his most popular slogan — that of change — Obama quoted John F. Kennedy and touted his fresh take on politics as one that will fix idealistic problems from corruption in Washington to the division between the parties.
He talked about a shared longing for change from “a politics that uses 9/11 to scare up votes instead of leading us toward a common purpose . Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, Dennis Kucinich and Bill Richardson, all of them wanted to bring an end to these politics.”
Bill Chaloupka, a CSU political science professor, said a possible reason people are so enamored with the young candidate aside from his idealistic views, is because of he has good stage presence and people have been starved from that for the past seven years.
“They’re like, ‘Finally, a man who can talk!” Chaloupka said.
News Editor Aaron Hedge can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.