Give Me A Huge Rally In This City Before Summer Is Over

Video: New York City For Barack Obama 6

"Of all the people in the country supporting this campaign, our New York area supporters have been among the proudest and best organized."

Barack Obama, September 18

Michelle Obama Is Just Fabulous

Michelle Obama Is Just Fabulous

I just got back from the second of the two after parties: I went to both. Jeff was nowhere to be seen. People were already saying we will all say some day we knew Jeff back in the days.

It made me feel so good to see Jeff on stage. Jeff Kurzon. He was representing New York, someone else was representing New Jersey.

Jeff deserved that. He is the only full time volunteer. He has taken a six month leave of absence to give all his time to Obama. What a dude.

I hope Barack Obama ends up in the White House, and I hope Jeff Kurzon ends up in Congress.

Barack In Brooklyn
Jeff Kurzon's Living Room, Union Sqaure, Times Square, King Arthur

What a day. What energy. Wow. I have been floating for the most part.

I had made a point to not be an official volunteer. I did not want to be an insider to the rally. I wanted to be with the masses. I did not want a badge. I did not want to be close to the stage necessarily. I have seen Barack, Barack has seen me. I wanted to see the Obama supporters, the people. I wanted to see their faces.
Mother, it is no gain, thy bondage of finery, if it keeps one shut off from the healthful dust of the earth, if it rob one of the right of entrance to the great fair of common human life. (Tagore's Gitanjali)
Some of the volunteers who have known me for a long time as one of the earliest supporters of Barack in the city were surprised to see me on the outside. They were not expecting that.

I showed up early. I had been hyper all day. Expectant. Can't wait kind of feeling. I attended a MeetUp in the morning, but I was there in body only, my mind was elsewhere. Then I went to the Strand bookstore near Union Square. I tried to read out of the Greenspan book. I could not concentrate.

Then I went to the McDonald's near the Square for a meal. Then I said okay, enough. Let me walk that way. I had left home before nine in the morning.

I got to Washington Square around four. I was surprised a line had already started to form. The gates were to open at five.

Secret service people were there, and a whole bunch of police officers.

I walked once round the park. I wanted to survey the scene. I wanted the empty park on video, if only to draw a contrast with later footage.

I was beside myself. What a day. Crowds do something to me. I love street fairs. This was to be a special crowd. My first political rally in America. Obama brags about "20,000 people in Austin." Politicians in Nepal would laugh. A 100,000 strong political rally is no big deal in Nepal. They don't do TV ads back there.

India is a whole different story. A major rally in Delhi can easily be a million people. Or in Patna. People from all over the state of Bihar would pour into the state capital Patna for a rally. People would travel all day to get there, by train.

20,000 in Austin? This has been the biggest rally by any candidate this election season. Obama beat his own record. Others don't even bother doing rallies. Since when did running for president become anything to do with the people, they seem to suggest through their disdain for rallies.

After walking around the park I got into line, but before that a police officer asked me what I was doing: my video camera. I liked the attention.

At one point this random guy cornered me to ask me if I was a Ron Paul supporter! Is that not the name of that Texas Republican? I think I have more MySpace friends than he does. But no, I am not a Ron Paul supporter. But I liked the attention.

In line I met some people who did not have tickets. I had four extra tickets. I gave those out to them. One was Nicole, a Law undergrad at LSE in London across the pond, originally from Singapore, hoping to do a Masters in Law at NYU. For her it had been an impromptu decision to join the rally. She had come to NYU to meet a professor, she saw the brouhaha, and she decided to get in.

There were fancy metal detectors in place. At first it looked like they will not be able to process everyone on time. But the gameplan seemed to be to loosen the security as more time passes. And so there were people everywhere, including up in the trees. Out in the streets. Some said 10,000, some said more. Some said 25,000. New York Times says 25,000. That is a pretty good paper. Can be trusted. I think it was more like 30.

I can't believe I just attended the largest political rally in American presidential campaign history. We will beat this record next summer when Barack is hammering his Republican opponent. Is Central Park available? We will get people from Boston to DC to show up. We will shoot for million strong.

My first political rally in America, my biggest. I have not ever even been to a major rock concert. I was digging it the entire time. Totally. I started on what would be Obama's right when he was on stage, but very far away. I could only see him when I zoomed in my camera, and that was fine by me. I was more interested in watching the faces of those others around me, I was more into the crowd than stage action. Then I went more to the front. I think I got great footage. When I captured him on video from the front, because there was this huge light right behind him, though high up, it made him look like a messiah who had descended from the heavens to deliver heavenly message.

The energy was palpable. You had to be there to feel it, there is no other way.

Nothing he said was new to me, including his story at the end about the Fired Up woman in South Carolina. I have been following him so closely. But that did not take away from the excitement. For me it was about the crowd. What a crowd.

The comedian has to do his routine. So does the politician. Obama has his standard lines and themes, and then there are the impromptu moments when he basically has a little chit chat with the crowd. He responds to hoots and hollers. And so each speech ends up being local and unique.

After it all ended, at one point I got very close to him, but was not able to reach out and touch. And that's fine. I give Barack to others. I have no remorse.

This rally is the beginning of the end of Hillary 2008.

Those of you who captured the rally on video, do not, I repeat, do not edit out anything. Put all of it online. On Google Video. Hours and hours. We need to share this with all those across the country who could not make it. They could not be there. But we have to help them feel like they were there.
Jeff Kurzon: "My neighbor and friend Raj, who lives right next door, asked me what I thought about Senator Obama in the beginning of January, and I didn't really know anything about him. Then I saw footage from an old interview with Barack in 2002, where he was voicing his opposition to the war, and it really got me interested. Raj started a Meetup group and then started and all of these people came together and started talking about Obama and it made me realize that this guy was really special. I haven't met an Obama volunteer that I don't like -- it's really unique -- and I've been actively involved ever since."

In The News

Obama Rallies Huge Crowd in New York New York Times When Senator Barack Obama ran through the arch and strode onto stage tonight in Washington Square Park, he paused and sized up the crowd standing before him, many of whom were waving blue signs into the air emblazoned with his last name. “Look at this crowd!” Mr. Obama said. “It is good to be back in New York. Some of you know, I used to live in New York City. I used to hang out in Washington Square Park. I know a little something about Greenwich Village.” He added: “I was going to say I know some of the bars around here, but I think my communications director was trying to cut that off.” ...... he did seem as though he had taken an energy boost from his appearance at a debate Wednesday evening in New Hampshire. ...... Throughout the course of a 41-minute speech, Mr. Obama essentially asked voters to take a leap of faith on his candidacy. “There are easier choices to make in this election,” he said. ...... Bathed in the glow of floodlights, Mr. Obama addressed thousands of people who stood shoulder-to-shoulder, stretching from one side of the park to the other. ...... And tonight, he drew what the campaign said was 24,000 people to Washington Square Park. That number was impossible to verify – unlike the other locales, where police provided a crowd count – but the audience clearly was one of the largest of the year. ..... The New York primary on Feb. 5 – one of 21 states scheduled to cast votes that day – could offer a delegate boost. ..... Obama believes he can pick up enough delegates in New York
Obama Distances Himself From Clinton, on Her Turf New York Times In a giant rally in the backyard of Senator Hillary Rodham, Mr. Obama, of Illinois, drew distinctions between himself and his leading rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, insisting that only a fresh candidate could truly change Washington. Twice, he singled out Mrs. Clinton. “Even your senator from New York wasn’t clear about the Yankees,” he said, laughing at his own joke. “I know who I’m rooting for!” ..... suggesting voters should be dubious of any candidate who declined to acknowledge the prospect of raising taxes to fix Social Security. .... bathed in bright flood lights as he stood on a stage before a crowd stretching across Washington Square Park, struck a sharper tone than he has through much of his campaign .... The arguments he made, before an audience of supporters, were not articulated during a debate one night earlier. ...... The racially diverse crowd included Obama devotees who said they came specifically to increase attendance; Greenwich Village residents who had heard the commotion and followed it with dogs and yoga mats in tow; and nostalgists who beamed at the sight of thousands of mostly young people filling the park for a liberal, antiwar cause. ...... Obama has made at least 17 trips to New York City this year. ..... Initially, the crowds extended to the far borders of the park, massed behind metal detectors that were brought out for the first time in the 2008 campaign. Unable to hear the introductions, people started to leave. But after chants of “Let us in!” security gave up and the crowd filed in. ........ Obama’s aides said more than 20,000 people registered for the event through the campaign’s Web site. ..... view from the vantage point of an elevated lift seemed to reveal the gathering as one of the largest campaign events of the year. ...... Sophie Ragir, 18, a Columbia freshman, said, “It’s a social thing. Everyone on my floor was, like, are you going to the Obama thing?” ... We don’t vote for a little while yet; I’m on a fishing trip.”
Post-debate campus poll goes well for Obama Baltimore Sun Out of 618 students participating in an electronic poll, Clinton was chosen the winner with 192 votes. Obama followed with 153 votes and former Sen. John Edwards came in third with 117. ...... the survey provided better news for Obama when it asked students who they would vote for in the Democratic presidential primary. Obama came out the winner this time with 166 votes, ahead of Clinton, who tallied 121 votes. Edwards trailed badly, however, with just 39 votes.
Obama Camp Plays Down Wife's Comment The Associated Press Michelle Obama who said this week that her husband has to win Iowa. ...... During a visit Wednesday to Davenport, Iowa, Michelle Obama commented on the importance of a strong showing in the caucuses. ..... "Iowa will make the difference," she said. "If Barack doesn't win Iowa, it is just a dream. If we win Iowa then we can move to the world as it should be. And we need your help in making that happen." ...... On Thursday, Obama's campaign made it clear that they were optimistic about their chances in Iowa but didn't consider it essential that they win. ..... Historically, three candidates from each party remain viable after Iowa, with those who finish fourth or worse losing steam and quitting the race relatively soon. That process could be even faster this cycle because of a compressed campaign schedule that's jammed a series of primaries and caucuses earlier in the calendar.
Obama Draws Thousands to NYC Park The Associated Press
Seeking a Slice of New York
New York Times, United States The presidential campaign, for a few days this week, is expanding beyond the confines of Iowa and New Hampshire. And Senator Barack Obama’s eyes are fixed on New York. ..... On Monday, after collecting the endorsement of a New York City correction officers’ union, he spent the evening at a “Barack Obama on Broadway” fund-raiser. On Thursday, he returns for a taping of two television talk shows – “The View” and “The Tyra Banks Show” – and what his aides hope will be a huge rally in Washington Square Park. ...... In a drawn-out fight for the nomination, Mr. Obama believes he can pick up a cache of delegates in New York. There is an added bonus: New Jersey and Connecticut, which complete the tri-state media market, also vote on Feb. 5.
Unprecedented crowd of 25000 receive Obama in New York Blogger News Network set a new feat as the biggest crowd puller in the history of American politics. Estimates showed that over 25,000 attended the free rally. ...... The presidential hopeful himself wasted no time to point out the diversity in the multitude and the mammoth crowd itself as evidence that his stump message of hope and change was resonating and further that the whole country was hungry for radical change, and not just a change in political parties, and a continuation of the old ways of doing politics. ...... “You’ve got young people and old people,” he said. “You’ve got poor folk and not-so-poor folk. You’ve got blacks, whites, Asians, Native Americans. You’ve got gay and straight. You’ve got people with disabilities. You’ve got Democrats and independents, and, yes, you’ve even got some Republicans.” He remarked. ..... “….We are sick and tired of being sick and tired. We want something new. We want some change,” Obama added. ....... Almost every phrase from the candidate was accompanied by applause. One NY resident, 50 years old Matha Liz, who prior to the event had been contemplating between Clinton, Edwards and Obama, said after the rally that she was fired up by Obama, and will be voting for him during the primaries. ..... “He is fresh, inspiring, and committed to clean Washington…” Matha echoed, buying an Obama t-shirt, which read, “I love NY”. ..... Most significant is the fact that the rally was taking place in New York, the backyard of the presumably front-runner, Hillary Clinton, whose highest crowd in the state since the campaign began is just 2,500. .... Her campaign will have to be very worried about the eventual media coverage that may ensue from the event, and potentially overturn polls, which have put her on a lead so far. ..... The fact of the matter is that he has built the strongest grassroot movement in this race, amongst all the candidates running
Obama Hosts ‘Don’t Give Up’ Rally In Hillary's Backyard WNBC, NY Initially, only guests who signed up could attend the rally, but loudspeakers afforded people on the street a chance to listen to Obama's speech. ....... Kelsey Randall, a 20-year-old Parsons School of Design student, said she supported Obama for president. .. "It's my first election (to vote) so I don't want to cast my vote for someone I don't support 100 percent," said Randall, who stood in line for more than an hour to get into the rally. "There's nothing yet that I've disagreed with him on. He's so his own person." ...... Obama spoke for close to an hour ..... Obama said the reason many of those at the rally had come was they were fed up with the U.S. Constitution being treated as a "nuisance" rather than as the country's foundation and with a war "that never should've been authorized and has cost us thousands of lives." He received thunderous applause. ...... "We should never negotiate out of fear, but we should never fear to negotiate. Refusing to talk with our enemies doesn't make the United States look tough, it makes us look arrogant." ...... "I know what it's like to watch a loved one suffer not just from illness but from a broken health care system," he said, adding that every American should have health care. ..... he would address the HIV/AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa, intervene in the conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan and close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. ...... "I've got the experience America needs right now." Hillary Clinton appears to enjoy a comfortable lead in several national polls. The Obama team has insisted that he can catch up.
Barack Obama Rally At Washington Square Park, NY more than 700 people showed up for an organizing meeting in Manhattan a few weeks ago and more than 1,500 people attended a community kickoff event in Brooklyn.
Singles will check out eligible candidates at Obama rally New York Daily News, NY Like-minded city singles are looking to tonight's Barack Obama rally as more than just a politically charged soiree: It'll be a raging pickup scene. ...... The rally from 5-8 p.m. in Washington Square Park, promises to draw a young, intelligent crowd. And what better time to hook up than a beautiful fall evening while waving a banner for democracy? ..... But when the sun goes down over NYU, the party really starts about 20 blocks north- the rally after-party. ..... The Obama campaign is in no way affiliated with the Official Barack in NYC After-party, set for 7:30 at the 4-0/40 Club in the Flatiron District, but you can bet the young and the restless will file up Fifth Ave. from the park to continue, well, showing their support. ..... "Look, you never meet good guys in a bar," she reasons. "Something like this naturally weeds out the losers for you. You aren't going to get some pickup artist at a political after-party." ..... One ardent Obama supporter (who declined to give his name because he works in politics) says he'll attend both the rally and the after-party, and he doesn't expect to be going home alone. ...... He's confident for a reason. ... "Let's face it: Leftie girls are easy," he says.

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