That’s pretty much how I’d sum up the organizational meeting and impromptu rally for Obama I attended last night at the Plumbers & Pipe fitters Union in Columbus. I got there about 5 minutes late and traffic was backed up on Kinnear Road just after Kenny. That was the first hint. The next hint that this was going to be huge was watching how many people were streaming in at the same time as me. This was a huge turnout. I knew from watching the event registrations on my.barackobama.com that there were over 800 who had signed up to come.
Luckily the hall was rather large. It didn’t matter. There were 500 chairs set out and it was standing room only absolutely packed – in a very large space. The energy in there was amazing. The other thing that just absolutely floored me was the diversity. I could not believe all the different types of people. Old. Young. White. Black. Brown. A virtual cross-section of our community all gathered to work for change and fueled by hope and optimism. I kept looking around and smiling.
State Representative Ted Celeste was on hand and was speaking as I walked in. Apparently I missed a rousing rendition of “Fired up” by fellow blogger Brian Fulcher. It was good to meet Brian. I had been following some of his work out in South Carolina. His energy is just as great in person as it comes through online. Good stuff.
Columbus City Councilman Kevin Boyce was also on hand and did an OH-IO cheer to initiate the campaign staff coming in from other states. He then turned that into O-bama! A few rounds of that and he was ready to speak.
We also heard from plenty of campaign staff, one of which was from Columbus and “coming home”. Another staffer who is leading the field effort had us all take out our cell phones and call someone we don’t talk to alot and pitch them on Obama. First time I’ve ever been in a room with 600 people phonebanking but it was kinda fun. I called a neighbor buddy and he thought I was pretty much out of my mind. Cool thing is that he and his wife are not registered to vote so I might end up with two votes that might not otherwise have happened. Fun.
The grassroots support is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. To think that 800 would sign up to help organize and then 3/4 of that would actually show up and do it is just amazing. I went to a great many rallies and events during the 2006 races and was never in a room with 600 more energized and motivated people. I can’t imagine how it would have been if the candidate had been there. Great stuff!
The next Columbus event will be this Saturday down at the HQ. They still need tables and chairs and office supplies and people to be captains and food and all kinds of stuff. So don’t stop looking for ways to help!
Open House and Canvas
Saturday, February 16
193 E Rich St.
9am to 6pm
Come meet the staff and help Obama win Ohio. It can all end here if we want it.
…and oh yeah. I saw Naugle there!