Obama taps Seattle's young professionals
Democratic Sen. Barack Obama returned to Seattle on Tuesday to whip up the local "Generation Obama" crowd and scoop up a big pile of money...
Seattle Times Olympia bureau
Democratic Sen. Barack Obama returned to Seattle on Tuesday to whip up the local "Generation Obama" crowd and scoop up a big pile of money for his presidential campaign.
Obama, riding the momentum of his much-hyped weekend campaign tour with TV megastar Oprah Winfrey, was in Seattle for three scheduled events.
About 1,000 people shelled out $100 — $35 for students — for an event at the Showbox SoDo that was part concert, part pep rally, part fundraiser.
The crowd, somewhat subdued after the music sets, turned electric when Obama came out about 9:30 p.m.
In his 30-minute speech, Obama painted the 2008 election as a make-or-break moment for the nation. "America, our moment is now," he bellowed.
"I believe there is such a thing as being too late, and that moment is almost upon us," he said.
Some of Obama's stock attacks on the Bush administration drew the loudest cheers.
"The era of Scooter Libby justice and Brownie incompetence and Karl Rove politics will finally be over next year," he said.
But he also got in some not-so-subtle digs at other Democratic front-runners, including Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who voted to send troops into Iraq.
"When I'm the Democratic nominee, my opponent won't be able to say that I, too, supported the war in Iraq, because I didn't," he said.
Earlier in the evening, Obama spoke at a $250- to $1,000-per-plate reception at the Bell Harbor Conference Center. Campaign organizers said they sold more than 500 tickets to the event. He also attended a private fundraiser at the home of Nick Hanauer.
Many people at the Showbox event echoed the theme on a giant banner above the stage: "Change we can believe in."
"I truly believe that he has the charisma to be a world leader," said Annette Ademasu, a state employee from Seattle who was working as a volunteer at the rally. At 48 years old, Ademasu was probably one of the older people in attendance.
Like others, Ademasu said Obama is the first politician she's gotten excited about.
Denielle Aduba, a 28-year-old home designer from Tacoma, said Obama has a "fresh new approach."
"I'm just inspired by him and his life story," Aduba said. "He motivates everyday people to get involved."
Elizabeth Evans, a 20-year-old University of Washington student, waited in line more than two hours to see Obama.
"I think he offers something completely new to the country," said Evans, who was studying for an exam as she waited to get into the Showbox. She said Obama could restore the United States' standing in the world.
"I think if we could elect someone like Barack Obama, people might think twice about this country," Evans said.
Farther back in line, Monique Duluoz, of Kent, was wearing an "Obama Mama" T-shirt and a pin that read, "Mommy make the scary Republican go away."
Duluoz said she would be happy with Obama or Clinton as president.
"I think she's going to take it," Duluoz said of Clinton. "But I'm hoping she'll ask him to be her VP [vice president]. I think together they could really rock it."
The only thing non-Obama was the handful of people carrying signs for Republican candidate Ron Paul outside the Showbox. "Know your enemy," one of them said to a cluster of Obama supporters.
Tuesday's fundraiser was the latest in a series of events staged nationwide by Generation Obama, a branch of the campaign that targets young professionals.
Obama is coming off the biggest weekend of his campaign.
On a minitour Sunday, Winfrey's "We need Obama" speech rallied thousands of supporters at events in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
Ralph Thomas: 360-943-9882 or email@example.com
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