On the bus with Barack

By Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Portland, Oregon. Earl is the co-chair of the Oregon for Obama campaign.

Earl_blumenauer_barack_obamaFriday March 21st, Barack Obama took Oregon by storm and I had a front row seat. Actually my front row seat started 46 hours earlier as the word of his pending visit spread. As the co-chair of the Oregon campaign and leading the efforts in the state, we were swamped by the reaction. Even with the arrival of paid Obama staff, the wave we sensed became a tsunami of Obama fever. By Friday morning, it was clear that something special was going to happen.

People had arrived early including some camping overnight. One prominent Republican told me, with a smile, that he was there "under an assumed name."

The energy, the enthusiasm, the insight and the hope in evidence in that room would characterize the entire day.

Watching Obama's arrival, his easy manner working his way through the line and locking on small groups, giving warm and full attention to each person was phenomenal. I wondered what it would be like as the grueling day wore on with 30,000 more people.

Earl_surrogateI was part of a short warm up event. It takes time to get the crowd in those large venues and they are "fired up and ready to go." Not since the Blazers were "Red Hot & Rolling" to their lone 1977 NBA Championship had I seen that much energy in the Memorial Coliseum.

The campaign makes every minute count. There is always a presentation from a campaign organizer to focus on what they can do to help starting immediately. Then a local volunteer, in this case a PSU student - the backbone of the effort.

I'm watching the intense crowd and its reactions. I've addressed far larger... 50,000 at the summer waterfront rally in the 2004 election and I am routinely on national TV and radio broadcasts. But this is a different experience entirely.

I worked hard to share my message in just five or six minutes to set the stage. I was surrounded by a sea of people who care so passionately.

It is hard to explain that experience because the air of expectation was so strong and the crowd so responsive. As a political speaker, it was exhilarating yet at the same time draining. In six minutes or so I rejoined my family, heart pumping and ears ringing, thinking that was only six minutes and Barack will do that for an hour, then again and again, all day.

In a few minutes the Senator took the stage with Gov. Bill Richardson. A notion of a possible "mystery guest" was in the draft agendas and by then the news was out that Richardson would make his endorsement.

This was a huge boost for the campaign from a key contender for President, from a national leader of Hispanics, and a former Clinton Cabinet official to boot! This was woven together for an audience transfixed. I looked at my own family... the 90-minute wait a thing of the past... carried away by the Senator, the Governor, and passionate supporters.

All day I would see the same pattern as Oregonians reacted to this message of hope and real straight talk. (Not John McCain's parody of the same name).

After the speech, we joined a small group of local "super delegates" and friends of the Senator. Even though he had just finished an amazing crowd experience that any politician would die for (but few could manage), he gave each person total attention. When he reached our family, my wife Margaret was shocked that her daughter Claire perhaps for the first time in her life was speechless, barely able to tell him she was a freshman at Grant High, despite his gentle prodding. Finally Claire, who had been selling cookies to raise money for the Mercy Corps Darfur program, said she liked that he mentioned Darfur and jumped up and gave him a big warm hug.

For me, it was the most intense, personal example of the transforming power of this amazing campaign and extraordinary candidate.

After this, still processing what was happening, I watched Governor Richardson and the Senator face the press, Oregon media with national reporters. The Portland event was broadcast live nationally and drew even more attention due to the bombshell of the Richardson endorsement.

Earl_blumenauer_bill_richardsonI visited before and after with Richardson, with whom I served in the House and our paths had been crossing this year around the country. Bill himself was "on", clearly motivated to help Barack campaign. His joke on stage about how Barack helped him out during a debate, whispering "Katrina, Katrina" when he hadn't heard a question, instead of "throwing him under the bus" was vintage Richardson.

The bus we would travel down the valley was plush, a far cry from the vans from earlier in the Obama campaign.

For months, they would travel Iowa in vans, holding meetings with farmers and truckers as they traveled 45 minutes to the next town.

Every candidate I've traveled with works hard between the stops, but the Obama routine seemed especially rigorous.... Between every stop there were phone calls to the national economic experts... checking with the campaign operations. He would converse with the travel team, including David Axelrod, the campaign's chief strategist. He and I chatted about Oregon's natural resources, land use planning, and other environmental initiatives, including county timber payments.

Food was ever present, much of it what I would term "campaign comfort food": candy energy bars, soft drinks, green tea beverages ("high in anti-oxidants.") Sandwiches, burgers to be microwaved (no takers that I saw). Pizza materialized after our stop at the American Dream Pizza Shop in Corvallis (an older sister of the one by the same name in Northeast Portland) which seemed more popular than any of the snacks. Obama ate one of four steak dinners on board, pronounced it pretty good, but didn't persuade anyone else to partake. He has lost seven pounds over the course of the campaign despite showing a keen appetite. Watching the energy he expended non-stop, one could understand how he could burn a prodigious number of calories.

Obama_busThe element of crowd control is a challenge and a priority for every campaign, but a particularly unique challenge for the Obama team. At least a rock concert can ration at least partially with price. We were trying to be inclusive and all the tickets were free (unless one went to Craig's List where they were on sale for $100 after supply ran out). The crush of the crowds is a huge safety and logistical problem. Security and crowd movement require lots of time to move the thousands of people at every venue. Since there are always more than can be safely allowed into the arenas, armories, and coliseums, the campaign tries to provide overflow facilities where Obama visited at every stop.

Stop number two was the Salem Armory. It too was at capacity with enthusiastic supporters but with a different feel than Portland. More mid-valley, slightly older, more Latino faces. Every crowd of the Obama campaign looked much like America and especially what America is becoming... diverse and multi-cultural. There was a very wide range of how people dressed and looked, with children very much in evidence. People came as families, often multi-generational, exhilarating I found this packed audience, though smaller, every bit as challenging to address.

The next stop was in Corvallis – an unannounced drop by at a pizza parlor & short walk on Main Street. There were hundreds of people who had a chance to see the Senator, shake hands, and participate in the low key casual exchange.

All this had gone so smoothly that we were actually ahead of schedule when we left Corvallis, which strangely was a problem. So the motorcade slowed to perhaps 40 miles per hour with the police escort. It took me awhile to figure out why traveling in motorcade with Secret Service, a police escort, and controlled freeway onramps take this long to get to Eugene.

There was an overflow crowd again in Eugene, some actually camped the night before to be sure to get in. If Barack were to arrive early it disrupts the process as people crowd to see him. You cannot speed it up and still deal fairly with 15,000 people, as only 2/3 will fit in "The Pit," as we told him McArthur Court was named.

As we arrived, there was a sea of people on the field outside where Barack would spend several minutes speaking to them. I went in to be part of the warm up.

It was an amazing scene. People were literally hanging from the rafters. Exactly one week before, I was there yelling with Jefferson and Grant High fans as the Portland teams won the 5A and 6A Boys Basketball Championships (my son Jon was an assistant coach for the Grant Generals).

The roar of the crowd was far louder than the basketball game and was compounded by some of the amplifiers at the stage back that it was almost physically painful. They were so pumped up that their cheers and laughter sometimes prevents you from hearing your own words and was disorienting. How does Obama keep everything straight during the seventh appearance of the day, after shaking throngs of hands in four cities to say nothing of about 24 interviews and press conferences.

There was no hint of a letdown because his 8th appearance, 12 hours after he began, was as impressive as the first. He was, if anything, more energized by the people and their enthusiasm. He had drawn new information about Oregon which found its way into his presentation. He was unfailing in his attention to individuals in the crowd, treating them like real people, just as he treats his audience as "grown ups."

As we boarded the bus for the last ride of the day to the airport the candidate seemed completely relaxed for the first time in the 15 hours I had been with him. The pressing focus was what happened to his selections in the campaign's NCAA tournament bracket. Everyone on the bus seemed a fan if not a "jock" and the TV in the background most of the day was usually one of the tournament games.

Reggie, the man who seemed to keep everything moving for the candidate was writing furiously and checking sheets of paper that this time were not schedules, memos and logistics, but the various tournament brackets of "Team Obama."

Then it was on to the plane, a 737 leased by the campaign for the quick 20 minute flight to Medford. Arriving at the hotel well after midnight, then after 5 or 6 hours of sleep, Senator Barack Obama would start again, his 16th month of non-stop effort to change not just the face but the landscape of American politics.

Sharing just 16 hours of those 16 months I walk away more committed to his campaign, more convinced that he is exactly the person we need as President to usher in a new political era for these challenging times. Then early the next morning it began again, as Medford rose to the occasion and so did Barack Obama.

Comments

  • Allyn Stone (unverified)
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    Congressman Blumenauer: I really enjoyed reading your behind-the-scenes report on Sen. Obama's visit to Oregon. Thanks very much.

  • Fair and Balanced (unverified)
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    Thanks for sharing this, Earl. Your description of the Eugene event was spot on.

    I was fortunate to get a picture, handshake and autograph before the speech, but I blew my chance to share a thought with him. If I'd had my wits about me, I would have said something like "I would like you to think about how to address the concerns of people like me, who are close to retirement and have most of their assets in mutual funds. When you talk about cutting off the 'special interests,' remember that some of their profits are shared with millions of working people as well as the fat cats. How can we fix the problem of undue influence while protecting them?"

    If he (or Hillary) have addressed this, I'm not aware of it. Is the connection too much of a stretch for Democrats to worry about?

  • Shiila (unverified)
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    Wonderful post! I can feel the positive energy. I was at the Salem townhall, the senator did well. The crowd, some of them already in line at 5:30 am with doors scheduled to open at 11:30 am, were very receptive, yes Barack has strong support in Oregon.

    By the way, we love you Rep. Blumenauer! And we know you love us back! He he

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    Congressman Blumenauer:

    Thank you for the narrative on the campaign events. I am concerned about the divisive campaign coming from the Clinton camp. I believe the nominee will be declared to be Sen. Barack Obama eventually. In the meantime what we have from the other side though, despite the dimishing odds of success is their admitted "kitchen sink" strategy, which involves endorsement by both Sen. and former President Clinton of John McCain over Barack Obama as Commander in Chief, and questioning the patriotism of Sen. Obama. In addition we have this today, with Sen. Clinton picking at the racial wound with this attack (see below) on the Black church. How can the Dem. party survive and be united when this growing polarization and divisive tactics are continuing and Dem. leaders stand on the sidelines, seeming to approve of such tactics. Increasing numbers of people on both sides are saying they will not support the other candidate. Isn't it time for the national leadership and say no to these Clinton tactics and prevent the break-up of the historic Democratic coalition? She sounds like Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity here. I find myself very disappointed at this time in the Dem. party. Where are our values, where is the loyalty to our constituents? Please respond.

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    Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, in a wide-ranging interview today with Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporters and editors, said she would have left her church if her pastor made the sort of inflammatory remarks Sen. Barack Obama's former pastor made.

    "He would not have been my pastor," Clinton said. "You don't choose your family, but you choose what church you want to attend." ....The Clinton campaign has refrained from getting involved in the controversy, but Clinton herself, responding to a question, denounced what she said was "hate speech."

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Earl:

    Obama's plan to increase military spending and to keep "all options on the table" re Iran suggests that millionaire congressional representatives who support him should prepare their children for military service. Will you be advising Claire to join the military? Do you support Nader's call for a top-down draft by which all who vote to fund war will be required to donate their own children?

    And Earl, impeachment is not a political question; it is a constitutional duty. Here are the latest crimes committed by Bush/Cheney:

    (1.) Bush has vetoed Congressional legislation prohibiting torture by the CIA.

    (2.) Bush is pressing the government of Iraq for a binding bilateral treaty recognizing a permanent US military presence in Iraq and a major share of oil exploration, development, production, distribution and control rights in Iraq for US oil companies.

    (3.) Bush continues to threaten, among others, North Korea, Sudan, Syria and most of all Iran with the use of force, a violation of the U.N. Charter equal to the actual use of force.

    (4.) Bush urged Abbas to remove the fairly elected Hamas officials from the Palestinian government. Thereafter, he backed an “action plan” to provide the means to develop an armed force “to crush the inevitable resistance”, which failed, touching off a bloody civil war in Gaza.

    (5.) The removal of Admiral Fallon to facilitate further aggression in Iraq and threats or assaults against Iran is also an impeachable offense.

    U.S. militarism/hegemony is a religion for you, your worshipers, and your co-conspirators in Congress. Why don't you form a church and leave government to those of us with a different religion?

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    I was unable to make any of the events due to work issues. But I very much enjoyed reading your behind-the-scenes account, Congressman.

    Thank you!

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    Nicely done Earl. Good seeing you in Medford. I would only add that the Obama campaign was mannerly and responsive when dealing with local Democratic organizations and Obama supporters. That isn't always the case with some campaigns.

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    Earl

    I thought the speech was great. Two comments from the peanut gallery.

    First, they put you on too early. I know they scripted the event, but you got us fired up then we had to sit on our hands for 20 minutes.

    And in the speech itself, when you have the crowd in your hands, take advantage! Specifically at the end of the speech, when you said "yes, we can!", I think you could have then repeated it again, and again, and again, whipping them into a frenzy.

    That was the moment!

  • Admiral Naismith (unverified)
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    Thanks for doing your best for my great Irish candidate, Barry O'Bama! It was nice to see you leave your district to say Hi to Eugene, too.

    But where was The Faz during all this? Seems to me his endorsement would do some good, too...

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, in a wide-ranging interview today with Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporters and editors, said she would have left her church if her pastor made the sort of inflammatory remarks Sen. Barack Obama's former pastor made.

    This is a cheap way to try to attack Obama. And who is Hillary to talk when she stuck around Philandering Willy while he presided over sanctions that cost an estimated half million Iraqi children their lives and who lobbed a few missiles into Afghanistan and Sudan to take people's minds off Monica?

    Counterpunch has a good article - There they go again - that, in part, exposes Pat Buchanan and other Irish-American catholics who attack Obama for not leaving Reverend Wright's church but who stuck with their pedophile-plagued dioceses.

  • Bob (unverified)
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    I was at the Portland Rally. Very inspiring. I'm really glad that Senator Obama got a chance to get a little Oregon focus and feel the energy and support we have for his campaign.

    I agree with the earlier poster, pressure must be put on Senator Clinton to give up her "Audacity of Hopelessness" campaign before she does real damage to the Democratic Party.

  • anne (unverified)
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    way too cool. i hope obama wins. if anyone still thinks clinton is fit for the presidency, uh, i have no words to describe them.

  • Van Doren (unverified)
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    We were told to arrive at the Colliseum NLT 7am to help set up; we were at the door at 6am, and they had all the volunteers they needed! Back to the rear of one of the other lines...

    As we entered the hall, my wife was still unsure; as we left, she said "OK, he's got me!" No script, no teleprompter - she marvelled at Barack's presence as he moved about the stage and engaged the audience personally ("I love you back!").

    BTW, I was one of those 50K at the waterfront in 04; I couldn't get near my candidate, but I did get your autograph, Earl. I'm not in your district, but you <italic>are</italic> my representative! Thanks for all you do.

  • Brenda (unverified)
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    Reading the vivid description of the tour through Oregon, I got so engrossed that I felt like I was actually there. Thank you so much for the article. Are you still playing the Fired Up song, etc. for the crowd? That is so great!! I may never see Obama in person but follow his campaign very closely.

    Now, about Hillary and church. She belongs to a secret so-called "Bible Study" cult with other Washington officials and politicians, called the Fellowship. The members of this "Cell" is like a who's who of Washington. Information about this is right on the internet through search.com. One thing they learn, among others, is how to play the "RELIGION" card effectively as politicians. Other aspects of this group are very concerning.

    Also, when James Carville referred to Gov. Richardson as "Judas Iscariot", then Hillary would be WHOM?, according to Carville.

  • Jan (unverified)
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    Thanks so much for sharing your 16 hours with Barack with us! I am getting so tired and disgusted with the Clinton "kitchen sink" strategy as well as the negative/biased comments made by certain media pundits and political analysts. So tonight I was searching for something positive and uplifting to read and here was your account of your day with Senator Obama! Thank you, Oregon, for showing your support for this brilliant statesman, whom I pray will be our next president! Next year, when I travel to another continent, I will be even more proud to tell people where I'm from instead of feeling afraid to admit it! In past years when traveling internationally, I've always been warned to keep that information low profile and try to "blend in" and heaven forbid, don't wear anything with an American flag on it! Our country needs what Senator Obama has to offer. He has the capability to bring our country together. I attended the Obama rally in Minneapolis and witnessed the energy, enthusiasm and hope in the Target Center filled with 18,000 people representing every walk of life, every age and skin tone! Barack speaks to everyone, including this former life-long Republican!

  • phaedre (unverified)
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    thanks so much for sharing that exciting description of a day with Obama, and for your work on the campaign. He's beyond words. We are so lucky to have him for President in our lifetime. He will change our country and the world.

    Let's try and ignore Hillary. She's toast.

  • Just the truth please (unverified)
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    chapter 14 page 293 he talks about setting in church and listing to write preach about "Hiroshima' hm sounds familiar and also talks about how he agreed with the church creed page 284, I think he is still not being honest. I have the book and read it myself. Dreams from my father

    Obama lied read and compare to todays news..Speech on Race

    There’s a lot of folks in America right now who have heard that. And I want to ask you why you have been listening to this pastor and close to him for nearly 20 years?

    SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, first of all, Anderson, you know, I strongly condemn the statements that have been shown on the tape.

    I have to confess that those are not statements that I ever heard when I was sitting in the pews at this church. This is a church that I have been a member of for 20 years. This is a well-established, typical, historically African-American church in the South Side of Chicago, with a wonderful set of ministries.

    OBAMA: And, as I said, Anderson, if I had heard any of those statements, I probably would have walked up, and I probably would have told Reverend Wright that they were wrong.

    But they were not statements that I heard when I was in church.

    COOPER: So, no one in the church ever said to you, man, last week, you missed this sermon; Reverend Wright said this; or...

    OBAMA: No.

    COOPER: I mean, I think I read in your books that you listened to tapes of Reverend Wright when you were at Harvard Law School.

    OBAMA: I did.

    COOPER: So, you had no idea?

    OBAMA: I understand.

    I did not. Well, I want to be clear that, when I ran for president, some of these statements started surfacing.

    COOPER: I mean, you may not have been there, but have you -- you must have heard that he had said these things.

    OBAMA: You know, I confess that I did not hear about this until -- until I started running for president.

    And then there was a story that was issued in which I strongly objected to these statements and condemned them. But what I also understood that was -- was Reverend Wright was on the verge of retirement and that a new pastor was coming in. The church family was one that was very important to me. It's where my wife and I got married. It's where our children were baptized. And, so, my belief was that this was something out of the ordinary. Obviously, some of these statements indicate that this was happening more frequently.

    But I also want to say this, Anderson. This is somebody who was a former U.S. Marine, who is a biblical scholar, who's preached and taught at theological seminaries all across the country, and has had a reputation as a preeminent preacher in the country.

    And, so, I have to strongly condemn the statements that were made. They do not reflect my views or Michelle's views, or probably the views of many people in the church.

    On the other hand, you know, Reverend Wright is somebody who is like an uncle or a family member who you may strongly object to what they have to say, but, as he's about to retire, I have no intention of leaving the church itself.

    http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0803/1...
    ..TABLE>

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Let's try and ignore Hillary. She's toast.

    On the other hand, as someone once said, "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned."

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    Bill R. wrote: Obama's plan to increase military spending and to keep "all options on the table" re Iran suggests that millionaire congressional representatives who support him should prepare their children for military service. Will you be advising Claire to join the military? Do you support Nader's call for a top-down draft by which all who vote to fund war will be required to donate their own children?

    Etc...

    By this accusatory logic, we should also consider mobilizing the Boy Scouts of America into combat activities when the National Guard and Army Reserves are exhausted. An all-volunteer army is what we have now and will continue to have under the 2009 Administration, no matter who we elect. Neither kinship or position matters to the Armed Forces. One recruit is the same as another.

    As for my opinion of Mr. Nader's plan of military conscription: Faulty on many counts. Not the least of which can be consider after a brief look at the tremendous good such conscription had/has done for mid-20th Century Japan, Germany and the current Argentina. Let us not forget the draft of our own recent past and the distaste it left with an entire generation now in office.

    Finally your listing of administrative offenses is indeed testimony to describe a dreadful mismanagement at the highest level. I too share your disgust at the Bush/Cheney policies of the past seven years. However, until charges are clearly brought to the floor of Congress that cannot be denied, I believe what you offer is comparable more to a request for a <url="http: en.wikipedia.org="" wiki="" recall_election"="">recall election</url> on the President and Vice President, not a call for impeachment.

    Those calls for action come from a concerted effort by the people and all elected officials, not just one Congressman and a few progressive bloggers... but it is a start.

    Please avoid direct attacks, Bill. They are simply uncouth and read as inane blathering similar to those of a person demanding a debate over nationalist vs. socialist viewpoints after being read the story Goldilocks. May I suggest that your questions are likely to be more fully and better answered by writing directly to Congressman Blumenauer's office instead of publicly displaying them here as an obvious attempt at trolling.

    That said, I enjoyed the Congressman's recounting and insights to the backstage activities surrounding the Senator's and Governor's visit to Portland. Thank you for sharing them with us.

  • Donna Jackson (unverified)
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    I live in Indiana and so enjoyed your recounting of the one days' activities in Oregon. I felt like I was there and felt the excitement with every word. I have not had the good fortune to hear him speak personally yet and can only pray that I will one day soon. Barack Obama is a once in a lifetime candidate and we cannot let the devisive and hateful comments from Hillary & Bill Clinton and all their surrogates take this opportunity from this country. I am bitterly disappointed with most of the media coverage thus far. They seem far more interested in their increaded ratings by reporting snippets of incindiary remarks and following them up with commentary from the likes of Pat Buchannan, who on any given day sounds like a raving lunatic. Thanks again for sharing with supporters outside of Oregon. I'm counting on Oregon to bring Barack Obama even closer to the White House.

  • Jeff the Great (unverified)
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    great write up, thanks for sharing your experience.

    Here is one republican that is hoping this amazing human being becomes Commander and Chief.

  • olga (unverified)
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    thanks for the behind-the-scenes. we're nearly there. go oregon!

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    Patch man Perryman: "Please avoid direct attacks, Bill. They are simply uncouth and read as inane blathering similar to those of a person demanding a debate over nationalist vs. socialist viewpoints after being read the story Goldilocks."

    <hr/>

    Hey.. I didn't write that.. Harry Kershner did! Rake him over the coals if you must!

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    Boy, "Just the truth please" has been pasting that on blogs everywhere.

  • Willa (unverified)
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    Dear Congressman,

    Thank you so very much for giving us, who live elsewhere in the country, an excellent description of what happened in Oregon.

    I enjoyed reading the articles and comments. Especiallly, the unnamed republican', I loved that (ha, ha, ha) who came to work for Obama.

    TO Jeff the Great - Thanks for that wonderful comment... a republican who hopes this amazing human being becomes Commander in Chief.

    I'm in the Nation's Capitol, and it makes me feel sooooo gooood, that regular people all over the country have been given an opportunity to finally 'wakeup' and 'smell the coffee', and 'smell the flowers'.

    For too long, the OLD POLITICS AS USUAL HAS KEPT US, THE AMERICAN VOTERS OUT OF THE POLITICAL LOOP AND PROCESS. They have kept it all to themselves FOR THEMSELVES, and we had to pay for it with our votes on FALSE PROMISES, and with our SUFFERING with the economy that Bush has destroyed. And the war our foreign allies,the military he has destroyed, soldiers and Walter Reed. We have got to get someone in the WHouse who can turn these things around, and stop that STUPID, LYING WAR. We have lost our freedom with wiretappings of American citizens, no terrorist, and our trillion dollar deficit. The public is struggling for survival.

    This is my FIRST TIME PARTICIPATING AND I AM 60+ years old. I hated politics, I turned it off, refused to listen to Bush, and just did'nt care. NOW I DO. I EVEN BLOG. I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT.

    SO, THANK YOU CONGRESSMAN, AND THANK YOU OBAMA. GOD BLESS YOU.

    TO ALL...LET'S VOICE OUR VIEWS AND BLOG, BUT DONT GET DISCOURAGE.

    GOD IS IN BARACK OBAMA. HE IS A MAN THAT GOD'S HOLY SPIRIT FLOWS THRU, AND YOU CAN SEE IT IN HIS POISE, CALMNESS AND SPEECHES.

    WE HAVE BEEN DELIVERED, AND GOD DID NOT BRING THIS MAN THIS FAR TO LEAVE HIM. HE WILL CARRY OBAMA 'ALL THE WAY TO THE WHITE HOUSE'.

  • Terri D (unverified)
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    Thank you for the article of a day in Barack's life. I have been supporting Barack since seeing him on tv on his book tour for Audacity of Hope. I then read the book and knew I wanted to vote for him if he ever ran for President. I had the good fortune to be the second person in line at the Eugene Rally last Friday. There were no overnighters there by the way. I lined up at 6am while #1 was there at 5am. It was well worth waiting the 15 hour wait, especially after the rough week with all the Wright controversy. It brought my spirits back up. Thanks for the bright spot in this day!

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    <h2>Hey.. I didn't write that.. Harry Kershner did! Rake him over the coals if you must!</h2>

    Damn that Harry K.! Every time I'm looking to stomp a troll, he rears his ugly pen. :P

    My thoughts are with you, Bill R. smile

    To the article: I enjoyed reading this and the comments posted once again on the MyBO site.

  • Amy in Corvallis (unverified)
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    Thank you very much Congressman Blumenauer! I had the pleasure of attending the rally in Eugene and the excitement in the air was palpable. I greatly enjoyed reading this account of the day. I cannot imagine the energy it must take to do this day after day. I, too, saw that Sen. Obama appears always comfortable, always genuine. Oregonians for Obama, like me, are ectatic to have some big name Oregon politicians like yourself and Sec. of Education Castillo coming out to support Barack - thank you, thank you!

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    re: Patch Adam Perryman: "Damn that Harry K.! Every time I'm looking to stomp a troll, he rears his ugly pen. :P"

    Your failure to carefully discern what is said and who said it reflects badly on you. Your position appears to be that anyone who is a centrist/progressive and speaks to the issues is a troll. Shame on you and Earl Blumenauer, who is not a member of the Progressive Caucus because he is not a progressive.

    Since you seem to be either unable or unwilling to understand reasonable argument, I'll try to make it simple for you:

    (1.) Illegal and immoral militarism is far less likely if members of Congress and the Executive are required to supply their own children to the military when they support funding.

    (2.) My listing of offenses is not "testimony to describe a dreadful mismanagement...", which is indeed the "liberal" analysis, but rather a listing of criminality in which Blumenauer, among others, is complicit.

    (3.) My attempts to convince Blumenauer that his failure to support impeachment of war criminals is criminal include many letters, visits to his office, telephone calls, and demonstrations of various types. Your assumption that I have done nothing other than to post to BO is as stupid as your other arguments.

  • Igloo Tee (unverified)
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    I'll say this for Sen. Obama ("O'rock O'bama" to my three year old): he is far more likely to get this Oregon Republican's vote than Sen. Clinton.

    That said, I would rather see Clinton win the nomination, so I can vote for John McCain without remorse.

  • Brett Holt (unverified)
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    Thanks for the insight to Obama's time in Oregon. My wife and I were able to hear him speak for a few minutes in the overflow field in Eugene. He was great! There is no doubt he'll get our vote.

    Just one thing...the red bow tie has got to go. There is nothing cool about that.

    Thanks!

  • Eric Stoller (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Great post. I have to concur about the bow tie ;-)

  • Chris (unverified)
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    Most of the time, I just let comments on blogs go but felt that I must speak out in defense of the red bow tie! :)

    There, I've done my good deed for the day. :)

    Thanks for this amazing account, Congressman Blumenauer. I enjoyed it so much upon first reading a couple days ago that I came back to read it a second time. I agree with Jan that it is a nice uplifting story when the press is negative.

  • Adam G (unverified)
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    I had the luck of attending the rally/town hall in Salem, getting in after they stopped requiring tickets, and it was great. Congressman, you did a great job of addressing an enthusiastic crowd, and Obama was brilliant, as always.

    Thanks for outlining your accounts of the events in this article.

  • mary Collins (unverified)
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    <h2>I think that behinds the sceans artical was great. My fiance and I went to the Eugene event from Newport. I had to work that day and when I got off at 3:45pm we drove to Eugene to make the event. I've never been to Eugene before, so it was a treat to go. The last time I was this excited was when I turned 18 years old and got to vote for Bill Clinton in his frist election. There is a hint of a bigger need in the air then the Clinton's and it is called a change. One they can't at this day in age give the people. The time for the Clinton's has come and gone it is time for a Obama difference. I know I am. Just being there when his bus pulled in was so eciting, but 20 minutes later, being told that the areana was full and they were turning people away was very sad. But still, I was there, a young black woman, looking at a man of difference. Cool.</h2>
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