[EDITOR'S NOTE:] This guest post is written by Cynthia Laird. Cynthia is news editor of the San Francisco Bay Area Reporter. This is her first post for the Bilerico Project. Photo credit to Bill Wilson (click to enlarge).
Presidential candidate Barack Obama brought his "Countdown to Change" rally to San Francisco Wednesday night (Nov. 14), and mentioned "gays and lesbians" during his speech before about 6,500 people at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.
"Gays and lesbians will have somebody to fight for equal rights," Obama told a mostly young crowd. He said that he would "make sure gays and lesbians are not discriminated against."
"I want everyone to feel part of America, regardless of sexual orientation, regardless of race, regardless of station," the Illinois senator said.
Obama's specific mention of gays and lesbians – about a minute of his 35-minute speech – is a change from when he appeared in Oakland, California in March. I attended that rally as well, and was frustrated when he made no mention of gays while speaking before about 10,000 people in one of the most diverse cities in the country.
The rest of Obama's stump speech Wednesday appeared to be a fine tuning of the one he delivered in Oakland and countless other cities. He's coming off what's been reported as a rousing speech at the Jefferson Jackson dinner in Iowa last week, and heads into a televised debate tonight.
Obama made reference to why he believes he's the candidate of change, saying that he's the one who can offer "meaningful change" for the country. He reiterated his long-standing opposition to the war in Iraq, and made reference to former President Bill Clinton when he noted that the problems that have been made worse during the Bush administration "were festering long before George W. Bush took office," singling out the lack of health care reform.
"The Democratic Party has always been at its best when we win not by polls but by principle," he said.