We got there about 6:30 a.m. and were probably about half-way in the line when all was said and done.
(Sorry this pic is blurry, it was dawn.)
(This line snaked clear around the Rose Garden for about four blocks.)
(This guy was shouting at everybody even though most of us probably agreed with him.)
I was pretty happy that there seemed to be good security with everybody who entered the Coliseum having to do so through metal detectors. I also saw bomb sniffing dogs check the floor before the event.
Once we got inside we found pretty good seats above and behind the stage. It had taken so long to get inside that we didn't have to wait too long for the event to start.
(There is nobody on the stage so don't bother squinting.)
Congressman Earl Blumenauer gave a pretty good introductory speech that started to get the crowd going and then, after a short wait, they dimmed the house lights and showed the "Yes We Can" video on the jumbitron. As you might imagine; the crowd started chanting along with the video which was pretty cool.
Then the secret service guys came out and Obama and surprise guest Bill Richardson quickly jumped up on the stage. As the announcer asked us to welcome Richardson the crowd went absolutely nuts. I assume it's because he just came out for Obama today.
(That empty section of seats in front of them is the press section.)
(Richardson and Obama seemed to genuinely like each other. They hugged at least twice.)
Richardson gave a great, somewhat low-key speech which was basically a description of why he decided to endorse Obama. My favorite part was a little anecdotal story he told at the end of the speech where Obama had a chance to throw Richardson under a bus during one of the Democratic debates when Richardson hadn't heard a question, but instead helped him out.
Then the Man himself started talking and it was tough to hear the first part because the crowd was so loud and excited and responsive.
I'm not going to go through all the details of Obama's speech except to say this: I was wrong about Obama. My biggest concerns about him before this election sound very much like the criticisms thrown at him by the Clinton campaign; that he's a lightweight and he's too much of a moderate/ conservative for my tastes.
The guy gave a boilerplate, fire and brimstone democratic speech. He promised to end the war, support labor, support science, find a health care solution, close Guantanamo and help the poor. There was absolutely nothing in his speech that could have been confused with the words and promises of George W Bush, John McCain or Ronald Reagan. The closest he came to mentioning Hillary Clinton was an allusion to the 3 a.m. phone call commercial and how he would respond. I'm convinced he's a democrat, but more importantly he's a progressive.
I left the coliseum convinced that he's the right person for the job and this point in history. My daughter wants to volunteer for the campaign. I think I just may join her.