Obama in Oregon: Energy & Excitement

Oregon media and political blogs are still buzzing from Friday night's packed and energized Obama rally.  A sample of coverage of the successful event and fired-up attendees:

From The Oregonian:

Obama draws 4,000 to speech, raises $200,000

Democrat Barack Obama touched down Friday in Portland just long enough to whip up local support for his presidential bid and collect about $200,000 in contributions.

Obama, running second in most national polls behind Hillary Clinton, spoke to a fired-up crowd of about 4,000 who paid at least $25 each to attend his appearance at the Oregon Convention Center. He pledged to start pulling troops out of Iraq, pass major health care reform and require better fuel efficiencies in cars immediately after taking office.

Obama said he would bring a new, more optimistic outlook to the White House, describing himself as "guilty" of being a "hope-monger." He said he would focus on the needs of people, not cronies and lobbyists.

"This country was not built on the philosophy that you are on your own," he said. "It was built on the philosophy that we're all in this together."

"The guy just creates a maelstrom wherever he goes," said Robert Scanlan, a Portland developer who helped host Obama's first visit to Oregon since he announced his presidential bid. "I haven't seen this kind of passion around a candidate" in decades."

From Matt Davis at The Mercury's Blogtown:

He says people in this country need to rediscover a sense of moral responsibility to each other. He says a President sometimes needs to tell the American people what they need to hear, instead of what they want to hear. He says he went to Detroit to tell the auto industry where to get off. He says he’ll provide universal health care for all in his first term as president. He wants us out of Iraq. He wants the US to lead the world by example. He quotes Kennedy from 1961, saying “Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.” The guy is actually funny.

Anybody tells you to vote for anyone else is full of shit and they know it.

From Oregon Blue Storm's post, Obama Rally Packed:

Obama was great, he is the real thing folks! I just got back from the event and I swear there were about 5,000 people there (although I didn't count). I was upfront and got lots of pictures too and shook Baracks hand.

From Amanda Fritz's post, Obama would make a good President:

Barack Obama would make a good President. He clearly cares deeply about issues that matter to regular people - ending the war, restoring the honor of our country, looking out for each other as well as for ourselves. He's personable while not seeming fake. He speaks to hearts and minds. He does have the right experience, to me - multicultural, multinational, in all ranges of economic levels. He didn't spend a lot of time bashing George Bush, he talked about problems and what should be done about them. And he clearly does have hope. I think we need a President who can help Americans feel hopeful again, by taking care of some of the more pressing problems that discourage us.

[Update:  Here are posts from Chuck Currie, Loaded Orygun, Oregon Blue Storm, and Oregon4Obama. Also, the AP story can be found here.]


  • (Show?)

    "I haven't seen this kind of passion around a candidate in decades."

    Two words: Howard Dean. How short people's memories are!

  • Matthew Sutton (unverified)

    Howard Dean, you are no Barack Obama!

    And Obama's grassroots campaign is totally off the charts compared to even what Dean had going.

  • TJ (unverified)

    I really admire Obama's positive attittude. It is about time that there is a candidate who focuses on healing the nation rather than further dividing it. Obama is reminding us all that be we republican or democrat our first duty is to America and its future here and abroad not personal predjudices and bias.

    [Editor's note: This commenter posting under "TJ" should not be confused with Torrid Joe of Loaded Orygun.]

  • (Show?)

    Ralph Nader brought, what, 10 or 12 thousand folks together in 2000? (I was a Gore man...)

    To slightly diverge (though going along with the concept was amazing or inspirational)... what does it say that a 4000 person event raised only $200,000?

    I'm impressed that he brought together 4,000 people. And $200,000's nothing to sneeze at. But when are the Obama supporters going to get inspired to give more than an average of $50?

    Then again, I don't think his supporters are an anomaly... what does it take to get the average person to give more money to deciding who leads our country for four years?

  • (Show?)

    OMG my blog was quoted on Blue Oregon...excuse me while I go faint. crashing noise

  • (Show?)

    FYI, if someone could fix the link to Oregon Blue Storm it is:


    [Editor: Done. Sorry about that.]

  • (Show?)

    But when are the Obama supporters going to get inspired to give more than an average of $50?

    In fairness, Evan, it was a ticketed event with a $25 ticket price. There was also a $500 reception beforehand, which pulled the average up a little bit.

    Speaking as an Edwards supporter, if it had been much more than a $25 ticket, I'm not sure I would have felt right about going, even though I was very curious about Obama and wanted to see/hear him in person.

    It was a good event. But the lines to get in were very long and I guess they ran out of Kool-Aid before I got inside. %^>

  • (Show?)

    I think showing up at what amounts to a political rally for the regular old public, and walking away with upwards of 200K, is a pretty damn fine night at the races. Besides, he could have lost that much, and cried all the way to his Oprah-blessing $3mil haul the following day.

    And sorry it's late--although you do get bonus coverage of the 13 Enviros party beforehand--it's the LO take on Barack. Since this is a story full of "elsewhere" links I hope it's not too pushy.

  • Matthew Sutton (unverified)

    Evan, I think the AP really lowballed all the numbers. There were more than 4,000 people there, and they brought in more than 200K. 4,0000 25 tickets is 100,000. There were at least 2 people who brought in 25K in donations for the reception, which is another 50K. There were at least 9 others who brought in 10K apiece, which is another 90K. All of this was through "ticket sales" to Friday's events. So that's at least 240,000, which isn't exactly the $3 million brought in at Oprah's the next day, but not too shabby. All of this will help the 50 State campaign.

    But more important than the $$ was that Portland got to participate firsthand in this historic grassroots movement.

  • (Show?)

    But when are the Obama supporters going to get inspired to give more than an average of $50?

    Hey! Great question, Evan! To add to what Stephanie (a fellow Edwards supporter) wrote, plenty of people wrote $2300 and $4600 checks for a V.I.P. event before the 7:30 p.m. reception. The campaign also pulled in more than three million on Saturday from one event alone, so not to worry my friend.

    Obama's outraising Hillary, and is on track to have more donors than any other campaign in the history of the country, so thanks for the question!

  • (Show?)

    We've got fun photos.

    Great seeing Charlie and other Blue Oregon folks there.

  • (Show?)

    on track to have more donors than any other campaign in the history of the country

    Well, in fairness, a lot of that is because if you so much as buy a t-shirt, cap, or button, you become a "donor" for purposes of campaign finance law, and the Obama campaign has been most aggressive about its merchandising. I assume that this is an artifact of the McCain-Feingold law, because I remember doing serious retail damage in the Clinton-Gore Store in DC in 1992 and no one asking a single question. (I still have those souvenir "menus" from "George Bush's Waffle House." They are taped to the walls in my kitchen.)

  • (Show?)

    Chuck, good seeing you too. I've updated the post to add links to your photos and Loaded Orygun's take, among others.

    Stephanie, Obama has raised more than $53 million. Just in terms of raw dollars -- setting aside the very real and unprecedented number of donors -- Obama's second quarter take of $32.5 million is believed to be a Democratic record for a single quarter. Saying his total number of donors has "a lot" to do with just counting those who buy merchandise WAY underestimates the fundraising infrastructure he's building. Or misunderestimates, if you like.

    Campaign Web site traffic, unsurpisingly, tells a similar story:

    Democratic Sen. Barack Obama has the most heavily trafficked Web site of all the presidential candidates, pulling in nearly three-quarters of a million visitors in the month of July.

    The Nielsen Company, which released its NetRatings on Thursday, says Obama’s tally of 717,000 visitors easily outpaced Hillary Clinton’s 437,000 and John Edwards’ 348,000.

  • (Show?)

    Interesting. What proportion of his total donor pool is made up of those who have only bought merchandise?

  • (Show?)

    Joe Trippi has already commented that the Obama campaign is "Dean 2.0". you forget, Matt, that Howard Dean started with virtually no name recognition, not with an electric nationally televised keynote speech at the 2004 convention. he was the who-dat governor of one of those tiny states in the upper-right hand corner where hardly nobody lives. Obama is from Chicago.

    yet Howard Dean raised millions of dollars from tens of thousands of people who on an entirely grassroots campaign. people going to meetups, starting websites, organizing themselves, showing the national campaign how to do things -- we invented the Dean for American juggernaut because we heard Howard Dean saying what no one else was saying: You have the power, take back your country. despite how the campaign ended, we won a huge victory in that campaign and today Barack Obama is reaping much of those rewards. yes, he's a better campaigner, more polished, but no one can out-passion Howard Dean. those of us that gave our hearts and souls to that campaign (and carried on with the fight to take back our country) still know that he is the one who inspired us, first and foremost.

    those of us who now back Obama are just glad (overjoyed, actually) to have found in Barack a worthy successor to Dean. and our next President.

  • (Show?)

    We're talking about one percent of donors, Stephanie. Not "a lot".

    From the CNN piece on Obama's numbers:

    CNN Political Editor Mark Preston noted that there is a "whispering campaign that Obama is trying to inflate his donor numbers" which Obama flatly dismissed.

    "We're so far ahead of everybody else in terms of the number of donations that we don't need to be playing with the numbers," Obama said at the same event.

    Hmm... I wonder which campaigns would be starting such a whisper campaign?

    My advice to rival campaigns and supporters would be to spend less time trying to diminish Obama's grass-roots fundraising success and more time thinking about ways to increase support for your own candidate. Back to Evan's original comment, at 258,000 donors, the average contributor has given $205.43 to the campaign.

  • Matthew Sutton (unverified)

    I hear you Todd, I didn't mean any disrespect to Dean or the Deaniacs.

    My comments were directed to the argument that the Obama campaign will flame out just like Dean did. I think that argument overlooks the fact that Obama's campaign is exponentially ahead of Dean in the grassroots movement, in the number of people involved, the number of donors, and the extent of the organization. So there is no flame out in the cards.

    I was reminded in my reading yesterday that Jesse Jackson won 5 state primaries in the South during his run. It will be interesting watching how Obama does there as well. I think we are in for a long drawn out primary battle and with his fundraising, he is in a strong position to do very well.

  • (Show?)

    I'd be interested in both the median and the mean for all the campaigns. In this case, I'm more interested in the median than the mean, as the $2300/$4600 donors skew the mean. Of course, the median may also be skewed by those who only by a bumpersticker... guess I'd like to see a more thorough breakdown, perhaps by decile.

    I'm not trying to focus just on Obama (perhaps my previous comments about Obama may have tainted my post), nor to claim that there's not broad support out there, nor claim the overall money isn't impressive.

    I'm trying to ask the bigger question of how deep is that support (for all the candidates)... "this is SO exciting!" means what? People spending one-tenth of one percent of their income on our next leader?

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    Evan Manvel wrote:

    "But when are the Obama supporters going to get inspired to give more than an average of $50?"

    That this matters indicates the illness of our democracy. Many people for whom our system does little cannot afford to give $50 to their favorite candidates. This is, unfortunately, the reason our system does little for these low income folks.

  • (Show?)


    I'm a lot less worried about people buying Obama merchandise than by his proficiency as a bundler. As far as I'm concerned, if he inspires the enthusiasm to cause people to buy his stuff, that counts as grassroots support & probably indicates that they intend to make their support visible.

    Regarding bundling, see this Public Citizen watchdog website, which has info on all of the candidates.

    It's great if candidates get grassroots support, but the question is, how does that pan out when it comes to access? It's still going to be the bundlers & the people they recommend who are going to get preferential treatment, and the proportion of Obama's $ coming from such sources gives me no reason to think he'll be any different on this than Bush, or H. Clinton, or Giuliani, or Edwards (my current preference).

    I'm not trying to say Obama is out of the ordinary here or should be singled out for criticism -- just to raise questions about exaggerated, star-struck claims that he is more extraordinary than he really is.

    <h2>Enthusiasm is important, but unrealistic expecatations can come back to bite you (both voter & candidate). John F. Kennedy's failure to follow up on his "with a stroke of a pen" promise to make a rule against racial discrimination in public housing left some African-Americans I know bitter for decades.</h2>
in the news 2007

connect with blueoregon