Monday, February 04, 2008

Michelle, Maria, Caroline and Oprah on the Hustings in California

A great commentary on the NYT editorial page today, which mentions the Obama video (above):

Forty-eight hours before the closest thing America has ever had to a national primary, four extraordinary women put on the best campaign rally I’ve seen in 20 years of covering presidential politics.

The pitch-perfect event in U.C.L.A.’s basketball arena started like every other Barack Obama event — chants of “yes we can” and signs pitching the power of hope. Mr. Obama campaigned on the East Coast Sunday, but by the time this rally ended, Michelle Obama, Caroline Kennedy, Oprah Winfrey and Maria Shriver had crystallized the challenge Senator Hillary Clinton will face if she wins the Democratic nomination. She will have to figure out how to preserve the energy and excitement that Mr. Obama has stirred in his supporters, especially in once-alienated young voters.

The most recent poll here suggests that Mr. Obama has cut deeply into a double-digit lead for Mrs. Clinton in the biggest delegate prize of Tuesday’s primaries. Certainly, in that moment at the rally, the Obama campaign seemed to have a monopoly on what is hip, young and glamorous in California.

Before the event got into full swing, giant screens showed a video by of the Black Eyed Peas. A visually diverse lineup of stars — the actresses Scarlett Johansson and Amber Valletta; the rapper Common; the singer John Legend; Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — recited and sang along with a film of Mr. Obama’s speech the night he lost the New Hampshire primary.

The crowd was screaming with delight when it saw Ms. Kennedy, who brought her uncle Senator Edward Kennedy and now, remarkably, her cousin Ms. Shriver, wife of Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, into the Obama campaign.

Ms. Kennedy previewed Ms. Shriver’s surprising appearance by urging Democrats to “step out of your lives and into this moment in history.”

February 4, 2008
Editorial Observer

Michelle, Maria, Caroline and Oprah on the Hustings in California


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