Here is my crappy cell phone photo proof that I was just at the Obama event earlier today. It was a little chaotic outside and I ended up waiting in the wrong line and almost didn't even get in, but when I explained my situation to a nice police officer he escorted me through some of the cordoned off areas and I was able to get into the gymnasium and and even get a seat.
Senator Obama comes across to me as a person of substance. He talked about his tax relief plan contrasted with McCain's. He talked about his plans for health care and in the process I learned that McCain's plan will tax what I pay for health care benefits, which pisses me off. He kept on point and on the issues, even when one person in the audience called on him to start hitting back hard at the Republicans' dishonest and sleazy TV commercials. Obama said he and his people will rebut the lies that are spread and will not get distracted with the nonsense that brings people away from focusing on the issues that are what this election should be about. He mentioned his tax cuts will "will cut taxes to a smaller share of the economy than they were under President Reagan." He also promised that he would not raise income taxes, payroll taxes or capitals gains taxes for the middle class. I think his plan to not tax
senior citizens who make less than $50,000 a year is a good one and should pick up his support among senior voters who pay attention to these issues. (To read the full text of the prepared remarks go here. )
For a political event, it managed not to be too nauseating. I guess partly because the main point of it was to give undecided voters a chance to hear the candidate and ask him their own questions, so although there was the usual contingent of rabid follower groupies on hand, Obama wasn't completely preaching to the choir. I do, however, hate hanging out in crowds because it's always the selfish, obnoxious people who are the loudest. (People complaining about where they were made to line up because the police weren't about to cut off access to the court house, which is across the street from the gymnasium, for a political event.)
Gotta run now. Might write more later if I have the time and remember anything by then!
Update: Overall, I felt like Senator Obama respected the intelligence and time of his audience by keeping his focus on the issues and outlining the differences between his and McCain's economic, education and health care plans. It wasn't too dry either. He is an effective and engaging speaker and he makes you feel like he believes you are a person of intelligence, too. It wasn't like I took a few hours out of my day to waste time at some rah! rah! rally. It also made me feel like if he can keep focused on the issues and ignore the dog and pony show, maybe the rest of us should try a little harder, too.