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Barack rolled into town this afternoon, and our friend Kat got us tickets. She’s working on his campaign, and is very excited. So we took a little field trip to see what he had to say. All in all, it was a pretty useful time.

I hadn’t been to a presidential campaign event since the 80s, so this was a real treat. Totally branded. They had a gospel choir open the whole thing. They were solid. The sound wasn’t very well mixed. They could have used help from our pals Pat, Babe, and Duane. Then, there was a youth choir that reminded me of the Boys’ Choir of Harlem. Very exciting to see these kids perform. They did a version of Abraham, Martin, and John (this version left out the verses about Abraham and John). They also did sort of theatrical recitation of “I have a dream.”

They passed out some very slick, well-designed and printed (two-sided printing, so it could be photographed from either the front or the back) Barack Obama for President signs. They would pass some out, then someone would go up on the stage and get everybody holding them up—looking for holes in the crowd. Then, they would pass more out, specifically where the holes were. When they finally got a good balanced sea of “Obama Blue,” they passed out these hand-painted “grass-rootsey” looking signs, with slogans like, “seniors for Obama,” and “Obama 4 Change.” Then, they had college kids on risers on the stage, wearing college t-shirts from most of the North and South Carolina colleges. And they all had signs. It all made for sort of a Norman Rockwell picture of diversity and spontaneity.

They had a very articulate kid introduce Senator Obama—student body president from South Side High School.

Barack himself was very energetic (paced a lot, making it hard to get a photograph). Very articulate. Very charismatic. He’s the kind of guy you just enjoy listening to. He said all the good things. We need to concentrate on what unites us, not what divides us. We need to take care of our soldiers, regardless of how we feel about the war. We need to do better with preventive medicine and with information technology—and he claimed that this would save us about 5 percent on our overall health care (don’t quote me on that one, I wasn’t taking notes, and I’m not great at math).

And he was pretty funny. He said that his visionary optimism has the media saying, “all I talk about is ‘hope.’ They even called me a hope monger. That cracked me up. Remember that movie, Punch Line, with Tom Hanks and Sally Field, about the stand-up comedians, where Tom has the line, “They say I’m a hate monger, but I prefer to think of myself as a hate stylist.” If you never saw it, you didn’t miss much. But it was a funny line. And it was a funny line for Barack also.

He needs better music. He needs a theme song, like Clinton had, “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow.” A rocked out gospel tune would work for Barack, I think. Maybe one of those double-meaning Thomas A. Dorsey songs. Don’t know if he’s gonna get elected, but I know he is a rock star. Glad we did this today.

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