Bishop to Boycott Obama Commencement Speech

    South Bend is heating up over the controversy surrounding Obama and the local bishop...Read the post

    2009 College Grads: We're the Lucky Ones

    Why there is hope for the graduating Class of 2009, and how they can find work in a recession...Read the post

    Beer in Vending Machines -- What Drinking Age?

    U.S. policies on drinking age seem restrictive when examining the rest of the world...Read the post

    How The Press Can Remain Relevant

    Is it any surprise that Obama has employed a strategy to cordon journalists that is similar to previous administrations?...Read the post

    Be Afraid, Cheney Warns. Be Very Afraid.

    Just when you thought the Bush-era warnings of Armageddon around the corner were over, Cheney strikes again...Read the post

    Obama: You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry...

    Obama threw down his stick, spat on the floor and growled in the face of cameras -- metaphorically... Read the post

    Obama to GOP: 'I Won, I'm The President'

    "You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done," Obama told GOP leaders...Read the post

    Palin Seeks $11M Book Deal, but Can She Read?

    One can only imagine what Republican rising star Sarah Palin could possibly write about in her memoirs...Read the post

Rss Feed

national newspolitics

Hope Sold Here

Adam Kirchner

Posted: Jan 17th 2009 7:16PM

Filed under: Politics, National News, Local, Towson University

President-elect Barack Obama addressed a crowd of 40,000 assembled outside of Baltimore's City Hall Saturday afternoon on his train trip from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. In anticipation of his inauguration on Tuesday, Obama is following the same path that Abraham Lincoln took by train to his inauguration, seven score and eight years ago in 1861.

Although Obama's speech lasted only 15 minutes, the crowd of Baltimoreans had waited at the plaza for over three hours for the opportunity to see him in person, and to take digital photographs and videos. During the speech that so many had waited to hear, a woman in the crowd to the left of the president-elect shouted "We love you, Obama." Without hesitancy, the 44th President of the United States interrupted his speech, turned to her direction and said in earnest "I love you back." 40,000 Baltimoreans gushed, all at once.

Obama was joined onstage by First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President-elect Joe Biden and Second Lady Jill Biden.

During the three-hour wait in 20-degree weather the crowd of Baltimoreans was entertained twice by a personal trainer who tried to lead them in exercises. The curiosity that is the Baltimore sports fan base booed the Orioles' mascot off the stage, but later in the afternoon shouted "O" during the singing of the National Anthem, as they do at Camden Yards.

In the last hour before Obama made his way from Baltimore's Penn Station down to City Hall, the Morgan State University Choir sang gospel songs to the crowd for 30 minutes, twice as long as the awaited speech, beginning with "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing", which was adopted in 1919 by the NAACP as the "Negro National Anthem."

Representative Elijah Cummings and Governor Martin O'Malley, both prominent Democratic Maryland politicians, followed the choir appearing onstage together, each giving brief speeches to the crowd while additional snipers became visible on the surrounding rooftops. Police helicopters circled in the air around the plaza and a conspicuous black Chinook flew across the East Baltimore skyline. The only known incident of the afternoon was a call through the PA system to reunite a lost child with her parents.

Before the crowd was allowed to enter through street-side metal detectors into the secured plaza, the tens of thousands of onlookers snaked in a dense line along the sidewalk around six blocks of closed streets, down toward the Inner Harbor, where jumbo screens displayed the events for the thousands who could not enter. Many had been waiting since before noon to hear the speech scheduled for 4:15 p.m.

Although the speech was formally announced only days ago, dozens of vendors paraded from one end of the line to the other, selling Obama-themed hats, buttons, posters, calendars, and T-shirts. One man made his way through the crowd, hawking "Obama Oil," which was met with laughter on the chilly sidewalk. Hand warmers were five dollars for a pair.

The most telling hawker stopped and posed for a pedestrian photographer, beaming with impromptu popularity yet seemingly unaware of how apropos he was at the moment. He was selling posters with the simple promise used often during Obama's campaign: Hope, designed by Obey's Shepard Fairey. As the vendor posed in the middle of East Redwood Street, the display in his hand read "Hope Sold Here."Representative Elijah Cummings and Governor Martin O'Malley, both prominent Democratic Maryland politicians, followed the choir appearing onstage together, each giving brief speeches to the crowd while additional snipers became visible on the surrounding rooftops. Police helicopters circled in the air around the plaza and a conspicuous black Chinook flew across the East Baltimore skyline. The only known incident of the afternoon was a call through the PA system to reunite a lost child with her parents.

Before the crowd was allowed to enter through street-side metal detectors into the secured plaza, the tens of thousands of onlookers snaked in a dense line along the sidewalk around six blocks of closed streets, down toward the Inner Harbor, where jumbo screens displayed the events for the thousands who could not enter. Many had been waiting since before noon to hear the speech scheduled for 4:15 p.m.

Although the speech was formally announced only days ago, dozens of vendors paraded from one end of the line to the other, selling Obama-themed hats, buttons, posters, calendars, and T-shirts. One man made his way through the crowd, hawking "Obama Oil," which was met with laughter on the chilly sidewalk. Hand warmers were five dollars for a pair.

The most telling hawker stopped and posed for a pedestrian photographer, beaming with impromptu popularity yet seemingly unaware of how apropos he was at the moment. He was selling posters with the simple promise used often during Obama's campaign: Hope, designed by Obey's Shepard Fairey. As the vendor posed in the middle of East Redwood Street, the display in his hand read "Hope Sold Here."

Recent Comments »

Page 1/1

Post Your Comments Below

Most Popular Stories »

    More Stories »

    Latest News »

      Featured Galleries »

      • Living the Vice Presidential Life
      • Watching the First Debate At UPenn
      • Obama's Number Two
      • Historical Olympic Highlights
      • Pictures from Another World
      View All »
      Comming Soon
      Also on AOL

      Get the latest national news, cultural trends, political analysis and more.

      AOL news