I had the opportunity to attend the Obama Rally in Fort Lauderdale this week headlined by Hillary Clinton. It was an amazing event- an energized, dedicated crowd hungry for change and ready to hit the streets to make it happen!
I had previously shared my experience at the Obama Rally in Florida a few months back, so I thought I would again share some of my photos and impressions of this event with our readers. And while it may have rained on the crowd- it didn't dampen our spirits in the slightest!
The event was held in downtown Fort Lauderdale on the first day of early voting, just blocks from a polling site. I was lucky enough to get a special ticket so I was literally against the railing of the stage. Not too shabby.
(Click pictures to enlarge)
The crowd was warmed up by Congressman Alcee Hastings, an amazing democrat who spoke about how our state and country needed change. He's an incredible speaker and had the crowd going wild.
He was followed by Congressman Robert Wexler, who continued the call for change after 8 years of failed Bush/McCain economic policies. He spoke about the impact on Florida, with huge foreclosure numbers and soaring insurance rates. Wexler also highlighted Obama's support for a national catastrophic insurance fund- a winning issue in Florida and in other states, where many people pay higher insurance premiums than their mortgage payments.
To introduce Clinton, they called in Florida's popular former Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham. Graham served as Florida's governor from 1979 to 1987 and as the state's U.S. Senator from 1987 to 2005, notably as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Graham also recently came out strongly against Florida's Amendment 2.
Graham spoke about Clinton and Obama, and their hard primary, which he said strengthened both candidates and our party.
Then it was time for the crowd to go completely wild. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton took the stage to thunderous applause and chants. She introduced some of the Democratic candidates in tough races against incumbents, including Lind Bird- who is looking to replace the horrendous Jeff Atwater in the Senate. If you can, swing by Linda's website and make a contribution to help her beat Atwater. She is a great friend to our community and to all Floridians.
Clinton launched into her speech, wiping away any doubt that she was fully behind Obama in his push for the White House. Every time I see Clinton speak in person, I am amazed at how she connects with the crowd and can really rally the troops.
Her message was clear: we must get Obama elected.
It did begin to rain quite hard, to which Hillary just put her speech notebook over her head and kept on going, completely speaking off the cuff. Most in the crowd didn't leave (at least from where I was sandwiched to the stage) and just cheered even louder.
Clinton wrapped up the abbreviated version of her speech, once again punctuating why we must all come together and elect Obama.
In a word, she was- AMAZING.
One of the most important and heartening things that came out of the rally for me was the fact that every person around me knew about Florida's Amendment 2 (I had my "Say No 2" button on) and were voting against it. The reasons were all different- from not wanting government sticking its nose into people's bedrooms to standing up their LGBT brothers and sisters to seeing it as a Republican led sham to get out conservative voters- everyone was well-educated and fired up about defeating Amendment 2. It gave me hope.
I also thought it was rather funny how only at a Democratic rally would you see random people going around the field and separating the garbage so they could recycle the water bottles from the crowd. You have to love the dedication to our environment.
Walking back to my car, I did notice a McCain Campaign presence. Literally- a single McCain Campaign presence...
All in all, it was an exciting moment in history and a day I won't soon forget.
Now get to the polls and VOTE!