Presidential candidate Barack Obama is lucky his name is so rhyme-able. "Tell Your Momma About Obama!" was one of the hand-made signs held up in the crowd, in a couple variations, during Obama's rally Tuesday at Rancho Cienega park in the Baldwin Hills area. I also saw "No More Drama, We Want Obama," and a couple Spanish-language signs, curiously held up by people who didn't immediately appear to speak the language. From the press risers, the crowd looked mixed, excited, and a little sunburnt; some people had been waiting a couple hours before Obama took the stage. When he finally did, there was a stump speech with no added local context or flavor. No "I was down on Crenshaw earlier..." or maybe "Your city is what the 'audacity of hope' is all about..."
And yet, Obama's speech was sprinkled with a couple satisfying whoppers, such as, "We fund both sides of the war on terrorism." The audience loved it. After he spoke, people clamored to get their hands on the man as he worked his way toward the parking lot. LAPD was heavily present. Across the abandoned tracks of Exposition Boulevard, a couple people manning a folding table selling bootleg Barack T-shirts said they almost cleaned out. Here's somewhat fawning coverage
of the event from the San Francisco Chronicle, which apparently didn't
notice that all kinds of people, not just African Americans, showed up to hear the freshman senator's all-inclusive message of hope and equality. But then, American papers love an overwrought identity politics narrative.
* BEVERLY HILLS REPORT: I'm told that at the exclusive Beverly Hilton reception Tuesday night, Obama was introduced by his wife Michelle, who "went on too long" and was "clearly very bright, and seemingly competitive with him in a weird way." The deep-pocketed attendees looked with googly eyes upon the charming candidate once known as Barry around Eagle Rock, I'm told. Michelle said Barack was bad at making the bed and opening things in the fridge. Here's the latest AP summary on Obama's big day in L.A.
* Photo by Orly Olivier.