Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama is in Golden, Colo. today at the Colorado School of Mines. Obama is scheduled to appear at 9:30 a.m. at the school’s recreation center; this morning’s rally marks the second in a two-day stop for Obama. Yesterday he spoke in Grand Junction. Obama heads to Golden, in Jefferson County, on the heels of Republican vice presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, who was here yesterday. Read below for a live report of the Obama event.
8:52 a.m.: Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper speaks
Various politicians are warming up the crowd for Obama’s speech. Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper takes the stage after Golden mayor Jacob Smith. Hickenlooper refers to himself as “someone from the outside” who brought people from all sides of the political aisle together. “Just like Barack Obama will do.” He says that our economy is at risk, and that he’s a capitalist, but that doesn’t mean that government shouldn’t play a significant role in it.
9:04 a.m.: Colorado Governor Bill Ritter rallies for Obama
Colorado Governor Bill Ritter is speaking, reminding the crowd that Colorado is “a swing state.” “We need to commit to put this thing over the finish line,” he says. The crowd of thousands cheers; many people are holding “Yes we can” signs.
9:09 a.m.: Jefferson County Obama director urges people to participate
Jefferson County Obama director Erin Ramsey takes the stage, reminding the crowd to register their friends and family to vote since, she says, they are Obama’s biggest resource. No one else gets on stage, and the crowd appears to be a bit restless. Someone starts an anti-McCain call, shouting “No more lies!” over and over again.
9:16 a.m.: No protesters inside
Tickets to this morning’s event went extremely quickly and Obama-maniacs were directed to get here very early. Two hours ago, a long line had already snaked around the recreation center. Protesters also woke up at the crack of dawn. Guests had to pass by a trailer hung with a sign that read “NObama.” And a few protesters, one of them carrying a misspelled sign that said “McCain/Palan” walked around the outside of the recreation center. They took off their sweaters as reporters snapped photos, revealing T-shirts with the letter I, a heart, and an oil rig. So far, there’s no sign of protesters inside of the recreation center. Cries of “Yes we can!” continue to erupt sporadically as the crowd waits for Obama.
9:25 a.m.: A little Colorado School of Mines pride to go with your Obama
The crowd continues to wait for Obama to appear. To break up the monotony, a few student journalists up here in the press stands start shouting the Colorado School of Mines fight song. According to Oliver Dewey, a freshman biochemical engineering major who is writing an article on the Obama event for the school’s alumni paper, the song is called “The Mining Engineer.” Not many in the bleachers seem familiar with the song.
9:30 a.m.: Former Denver Mayor Federico Pena speaks
Former Denver Mayor Federico Pena takes the stage to say that Obama is on his way, but that he has a few things that he’d like to share. Pena spearheaded the U.S. Department of Transportation during the Bill Clinton administration. He says that his friends were surprised when he turned out for Obama. But, he says, “I wanted a president who understood the world differently than those who have come before.” Pena bemoans the state of the economy, but reminds the crowd how good things were during the Clinton years. “Oil was only about $18 a barrel,” he says, adding that “We had our stature as the United States of America respected around the world.” The crowd stands up and yells.
9:34 a.m.: Pena slams McCain
Pena is the first speaker today to bash the McCain camp, saying, “We can’t afford four more years of the same.” The crowd stands and claps, shouting “Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can!”
9:41 a.m.: Where is Obama?
Looks like the event has been closed off. The slow trickle of guests into the recreation center has stopped. Around a hundred people are packed into the overflow area where there is standing room only, while the lucky ones have bleacher of floor seats. There’s less Obama gear than expected, and only an itty bitty “Change we need” sign marks the podium.
9:49 a.m.: Still waiting…
Obama and Palin stomped throughout the state yesterday, and both spoke extensively about the economic crisis that unfolded over the weekend, when Lehman Brothers bank declared bankruptcy and Merrill Lynch was sold. A few of today’s speakers touched on the issue, but it will remain to be seen whether Obama makes the suffering economy the focal point of today’s rally.
9:58 a.m.: Obama’s next stop
According to the Daily Camera, Obama’s next stop after Golden is at fundraising event in Los Angeles. Barbra Streisand will be the evening’s headline entertainer. Didn’t know the senator was a fan of the diva.
10:08 a.m.: Lakewood woman takes to the podium
After a long pause with no speakers, a Lakewood woman takes to the stage to speak about her layoff, her daughter’s layoff, and the difficulties of making it in these tough economic times. “Our country has never been this way, and that is why I am supporting senator Barack Obama.”
10:12 a.m. Barack Obama arrives
Obama is here, and hugs the Lakewood mother who introduced him before taking to the podium. The entire crowd is on its feet, cheering and stamping. Obama thanks the crowd over and over again, in an introduction reminiscent of his Invesco field moment in the spotlight during the Democratic National Convention.
10:14 a.m. Obama speaks on the economy
As he did yesterday, Obama zeroes in immediately on the economy, saying that the news from Wall Street has “shaken peoples’ belief” in the economy. “We are in the most serious financial crisis in generations,” he says, “but Senator McCain stood up yesterday and said that the fundamentals of the economy are strong.” That message, says Obama, has been repeated by McCain 16 times throughout the campaign. “I fault the economic philosophy that Senator McCain subscribes to.”
10:18 a.m.: Obama doesn’t shy away from McCain bashing
Obama, and Democrats in general, have long been known to “take the high road” as their Republican counterparts happily bash their opponents away. But it seems as though Obama is taking a tougher stance on McCain than usual this morning. He made fun of McCain’s efforts to “clean up” his comment about the economy yesterday. “Senator McCain’s approach is the same as the Bush administration’s,” he says. They do nothing and then “scramble” to pick up the pieces.
10:21 a.m.: Obama bemoans state of economy
Obama says that America is strong when all Americans can prosper. “We have lost this sense of shared prosperity,” he says, adding that disparity among Americans is due to specific decisions made “in boardrooms.” Our current economy emphasizes “Wall Street over Main Street but ends up hurting both.”
10:26 a.m.: Obama rails against McCain’s economic policies
Obama decries the cycle of boom and bust in the economy, calling it a “symptom of an ideology that my opponent is running to continue.” “His call for fiscal responsibility would be believable if he wasn’t for more tax cuts for the wealthy” and for continued war funding. The crowd stomps their feet and shouts. “It is time to turn the page” in Washington, he says. “This morning, Senator McCain offered up the oldest trick” to fix the problem, says Obama, by proposing a commission to study the economy. “This isn’t 9-11,” he says, “we know how we got here.”
10:33 a.m.: Obama’s plan
Obama says rather than study the problem, he will act. He proposes a $50 billion plan to strengthen the economy and a “universal homeowners tax code” to provide a 10 percent break off of mortgage interest rates for certain homeowners. “I will change our bankruptcy laws to make it easier for families to stay in their homes.” The crowd jumps up and cheers.
10:36 a.m.: Obama calls for regulation
Obama says that as we reform economic regulation at home, we must do the same abroad since we live in a “global economy.” He calls for a process to identify systemic risks in our financial system so that we can act on them and “anticipate risks before they erupt.” The crowd stands and cheers.
10:41 a.m.: Obama on government transparency
Obama reminds the crowd that he supports government transparency in all realms. “When I got to Washington we saw some of the worst corruption since Watergate,” he says, but “we banned gifts from lobbyists.” “I am the only candidate who can say that Washington lobbyists don’t fund my campaign,” he says, referring to his rejection of political action committee dollars.
10:45 a.m.: Obama promises tax breaks and health care
“I will cut taxes for 95 percent of all working families,” Obama says, adding that taxes won’t increase for people who make $250,000 or less. “The last thing we should do is raise taxes for the middle class.” He says he’ll work for affordable health care and make sure that insurance companies don’t punish the sick.
10:49 a.m.: Obama on the “new energy economy”
Just as he did during his Invesco Field headliner at the Democratic National Convention, Obama says that he will create a new energy economy. He says he’ll work with Hickenlooper and with Ritter to accomplish this.
10:54 a.m.: Obama wraps up with a call for action
Obama lays into McCain and Bush one more time before he finishes his speech. “This election is our chance to stand up and say enough,” he says, while the crowd screams “Enough!” “We can do this. We can do this because Americans have done this before,” he says. He beseeches the audience to knock on doors and make some phone calls. “We will win this election and change America,” he concludes. Stevie Wonder’s “Sign, Sealed, Delivered” starts to play (Wonder also performed live at the DNC). Obama walks offstage to shake hands with the crowd.
11:10 a.m.: Crowd estimated at 2,200 for the rally
A Jefferson County sheriff’s deputy offered up a quick and dirty estimate on the size of the audience here at the School of Mines now snaking their way back to their cars.