Posted by Erik W on Feb 12, 2008 9:34 PM
Senator Obama came to speak at the Kohl Center in Madison today. The doors opened at 6pm, but he wasn't scheduled to speak until 8:15. I got there at 7:40, not really caring if I got good seats. (I wasn't going to sit there doing nothing for two hours... they wouldn't let people bring in backpacks)
However, as I approached the Kohl Center, there was somewhat of an angry crowd outside. Per Mar, the special events security on campus locked the doors saying the Kohl Center was full and walked away, refusing to answer questions (Can we sit on the side? In the back? Is it really full, or will you let more people in once the crowd settles?)
As I started to leave, I saw a door open up at the attached Nicholas Pavilion, and it was announced they setup large projection screens with a closed-circuit feed of the Kohl Center.
I figured it was better than heading to a bar to watch it there (where many people turned to go to). As we waited for Obama to start speaking, I noticed a significant increase in secret service agents... checking doors, walking around with their finger to their ear... I knew he was going to cut through to get to the Kohl Center.
And sure enough he did-- he even walked up on a platform to say a a few words for a couple minutes. His mini-speech was good... very personable and sincere. Following that, he walked up to the crowd and shook some hands. Including mine!
He then left the pavilion to go on to his real speech in the Kohl Center as we watched on the large projection screens. He got me pretty excited in the pavilion, but then his speech let me down. I don't know... after his "surprise" visit to those who weren't fortunate enough to get a seat in the Kohl Center... his main speech just seemed so recited and fake.
From the angle that our closed-circuit camera was at, as he wavered in his speech, you could see his eyes go to the teleprompter to read what he was going to say next. Half way though people in the Pavilion were visually bored and restless. And $4,000 from the government for college expenses for doing some community service? I might have mis-heard him, but it just doesn't seem feasible with the debt our government is in.
I'm still torn between the two Democratic nominees, and was disappointed I wasn't "wow"ed. Four years ago Ralph Nader came to speak, and his speech was significantly more heart-felt and impressive, even prompting me to stand up and clap. I just didn't feel that tonight.