Barack Obama Oakland Party Sunday, September 30th, 1 PM

From the Barack Obama website -- link in the title of this post.

Oakland/Northern California HQ Opening with BLACKALICIOUS (Meeting)
We are extremely excited to announce our FREE Grand Opening party with special musical guest Blackalicious! Live and in person, in the middle of 14th Street in downtown Oakland!

"Like a few other West Coast rap acts, including the Pharcyde and Jurassic 5, Blackalicious has generally favored what hip-hoppers call the "positive tip"; in other words, its lyrics have often been spiritual and uplifting rather than violent or misogynous. Like a lot of experimental alternative rappers, Blackalicious can be quirky and eccentric; nonetheless, spirituality is a big part of the group's music."

It's going to be AMAZING. Don't miss it.

WHEN: Sunday, September 30, 1:00 PM

WHERE: 436 14th Street, 3rd Floor - directly in front of the 14th Street exit of the Oakland City Center BART station, between Broadway and Franklin.

WHO: Everyone! Bring your friends and families.

WHAT: A party to celebrate the opening of the first office outside of the Early 4 states! Music, speakers, and good times.
Time: Sunday, September 30 at 1:00 PM
Duration: 2 hours
Host: Brent Messenger
Oakland/N. California Heaadquarters (Oakland, CA)
436 14th Street, 3rd Floor
Oakland, CA 94612

NYC Correction Officers' Benevolent Association Endorses Sen. Barack Obama

NYC correction officers' union says it will endorse Obama
Associated Press
4:29 AM CDT, September 24, 2007

NEW YORK - One of the largest municipal jail unions in the country said Monday that it will endorse Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois for president.

"Barack Obama is the one candidate who will put an end to the divisiveness in this country so that we can finally achieve greater economic prosperity for the working class and health care coverage for all Americans," said Norman Seabrook, the president of the city's Correction Officers' Benevolent Association. The group has about 9,000 active members.

Obama said in the same statement that he looked forward to working with the union as he continued to build his campaign for president.

"It's an honor to have the endorsement of these men and women who put themselves at risk everyday to serve on the front lines of our nation's criminal justice system," he said.

Barack Obama In NYC September 27th - Washington Square

New York Hosts Barack Obama - September 27th 2007

This is from the Obama for America campaign:

Dear Zenophon, Join Barack in NYC

We're planning a big rally in New York City, and I was hoping you could help organize it.

We've launched a powerful new tool on My.BarackObama that lets you make phone calls from home on behalf of the campaign.

Will you make a few calls to folks in and around New York to tell them about the rally? It's easy, and you can get started right here:

We've had these rallies across the country, and it's not just the number of supporters who turn out that's inspiring. It's the individual people and stories behind those numbers.

They're young and old, black and white, Latino, Asian, and Native American. They're Democrats and Independents and more than a few Republicans. Many are showing up to the very first political event of their lifetime.

You could be the one to let fellow supporters know about the rally that they'll remember for a long time. Just click here to start making phone calls:

With My.BarackObama, you have the power to organize from home and make an impact anywhere in the country.

I hope you'll give the new system a try -- we're counting on you to turn people out in New York.

Thank you,


David Plouffe
Campaign Manager
Obama for America

P.S. -- If you're going to be in the New York area on September 27th, consider joining us. You can RSVP and spread the word about the rally here:

For event updates: Text NYC to OBAMA (62262).


Obama in Atlanta - Senate's Vote A Waste Of Time

Obama rallies more than 2,000 backers at Atlanta event

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 09/20/07

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Thursday told a cheering Atlanta crowd that he walked away from a U.S. Senate vote to condemn the newspaper ad that attacked Gen. David Petraeus, declaring the debate was an unnecessary waste of time.

The newspaper ad, published in the New York Times, referred to Petraeus as "General Betray Us." The Senate on Thursday approved the Republican-sponsored resolution, 72 to 25.

"I happen to believe that General Petraeus has served this country honorably. And I think it probably was a distraction to try to attack him as opposed to [President] George Bush's policies," Obama said.

But the Illinois senator said he couldn't tolerate "the notion that at a time when we know young men and women are dying, and veterans are not being served right here at home.... We're wasting time debating about a newspaper ad."

"I did not vote on that bill. This is the kind of game plan that the American people are tired of," Obama said.

The candidate made his comments at a $25-a-head event at the Georgia World Congress Center that organizers said drew 2,200 supporters. A $1,000-per-person, private event followed.

Also at the public rally, Obama twice made reference to Jena, La., where thousands of demonstrators gathered Thursday in support of six black teenagers initially charged with attempted murder in the beating of a white classmate.

Obama declared he was "puzzled at how on earth a schoolyard fight" could cause prosecutors to level murder charges.

"It's not to excuse anybody, it's not to excuse young men that are in a fight, or that they assaulted another young man. We understand that violence is not the answer to any problem. What people are asking for is simply that the system of justice is fair," Obama said.

Earlier this week, a South Carolina newspaper quoted the Rev. Jesse Jackson as saying that Obama was "acting like he's white" when he failed to speak out forcefully about incident in Jena. Jackson later said he did not remember making the comment.

During Obama's event, NBA hall of famer Dominique Wilkins officially welcomed the multi-racial audience, which was dominated by young people. The Rev. Joe Lowery, 82, the civil rights leader, and R&B artist Usher, 28, also spoke and served as generational bookends.

Campaign organizers supplemented the low-dollar event with high-dollar souvenirs. Water bottles — empty — sold for $12. Karen Steinberg of Decatur and her kids, Stacy, 20, and Eric, 17, shelled out $79 for three T-shirts, a handful of bumper stickers, two signs and some buttons.

"But it's a contribution," Steinberg explained.

Obama still enjoys a rock-star status among many who attended — and raised their cellphones to snap photos as soon as he stepped on-stage.

"He's a man of change, excitement. He's shown America if you make the right choices, you can be president," said Mary Soley of Atlanta.

In April, Obama drew an estimated 20,000 people when he spoke outdoors on the Georgia Tech campus. The Thursday event was significantly smaller, but had the same purpose. The campaign wants to build a network of supporters who can act as a turn-out machine during the presidential primaries — not just in Georgia on Feb. 5, but in neighboring South Carolina on Jan. 29.

"To make Feb. 5 work for us in Georgia, we have to do well in South Carolina," Temo Figueroa, national field director for the Obama campaign, told the crowd. He urged them to join a caravan of buses headed from four MARTA stations into South Carolina for a door-knocking expedition on Sept. 29.

Senator Barack Obama - The Progressive Candidate - Tama, Iowa

Obama's in the Eye of the Beholder
Can the junior senator from Illinois be both a stalwart progressive and a post-ideological unifier?

By DAVID MOBERG (Tama, Iowa)

Barack Obama speaks during an 'Evening in the Park with Barak Obama' on July 3, in Fairfield, Iowa.

TAGS election 2008 labor politics
SHARE Digg Reddit Newsvine
Every August for 46 years, until she retired two years ago, Duffy Lyon carved the butter cow sculpture that has occupied a place of honor at the Iowa State Fair. But newly inspired, this summer she crafted 17 pounds of butter into the campaign logo of Democratic presidential aspirant Barack Obama, proudly displaying her creation at an Obama forum on rural issues here.

"He's the kind of person who will represent us the best, better than Hillary," she says. "He's for people who haven't got things." Prominent dairy farmer Joe Lyon, like his wife an active 78-year-old independent who Bush turned into an ardent Democrat, adds, "We've got to have a change in Washington. I think it's been a calamity--war, giveaways to the well-connected. I don't think we've seen anything like it in history. And we've just seen the tip of the iceberg. I don't know how long it will take to straighten out."

Many Democrats--and a surprising swath of Republicans and independents--think that first-term senator Barack Obama represents the best hope (his constant theme) to turn the country in a new direction. Whether attracted by his inspirational speeches, his fresh face, or his early opposition to the war in Iraq, people respond to Obama's personal story and what they think he represents for America, as much as to the policies he advocates.

But there are two Obamas running for president--or at least two political personas that voters see. One is the politically progressive Obama, leading in the national polls over rivals such as former Sen. John Edwards to be the left alternative to front-runner Hillary Clinton's centrist, establishment politics. The other is the post-partisan Obama, who will bring people together and transcend the morass of Washington politics that he is running against.

Both reflect Obama's political history, but the big question--for both his campaign and his potential presidency--is: How compatible are these two personas? To what extent does striving for post-partisanship conflict with--or complement--progressive political goals?

One Obama, two Obama

Progressives often see Obama's career as evidence that he is a champion of grassroots democracy, and issues like ethics reform and national health insurance. "People have choices to make in life, and choices give you some insight into what they believe and what their values are," says Henry Bayer, director of AFSCME District Council 31 in Illinois. "Here's a guy who had his pick of what he could do, the world was open to him, and he became a community organizer, then went to law school, did civil rights and voter registration work," before becoming a reliably liberal state senator.

That personal history counts with voters. After an Iowa Federation of Labor candidate forum in Waterloo, Amalgamated Transit Workers Union local political director Lon Kammeyer--a bold "Live Union, Die Union" tattoo on his massive forearm--praised Obama for his candor about his experiences growing up and for his willingness more recently to campaign against Wal-Mart. "I like Barack," he says. "To me, he's just worked his way up, working with people who didn't have anything."

But many admirers--especially young people, people turned off to politics, and less partisan voters spanning the ideological spectrum--do not view Obama as a progressive or even a champion of the downtrodden. They see him as a plain-speaking, uncorrupted, new force for change who wants to solve common problems and unite the country.

Pat Nelson--a politically independent, middle-aged, elementary school teacher--volunteered to help at an Obama rally held in August on the Cass County Fairgrounds in the small town of Atlantic, Iowa. Not a close follower of politics in past elections, she says she's paying more attention this time. "Whenever I listen to Obama, I get the feeling he's not a Republican, not a Democrat, but asking what can we do as a group to solve problems, and that intrigues me," she says. "We need to get over what Democrats and Republicans are for and think of what's important for the country."

Jim Lynam, 65, and his daughter, Emily, 20, both liked Obama's stand on the war in Iraq and the environment, but it is his charisma and novelty that excite them. "To me, he represents fresh air, change," Jim says. "I would support Hillary if she's nominated, but I wouldn't be happy because she brings old ideas. You know what she's going to say. She's not inventive. It's politics as usual. She speaks to please the audience. But he's not as corrupted by the system as people who've been swimming in it for years."

Even highly partisan, liberal Democrats, like 77-year-old retired union house painter Herbert Abraham and his 53-year-old wife, Nancy, a home care worker, admire Obama's post-partisanship for a practical reason. "Of all the candidates, I can't think of one that can get crossover votes besides Obama," Herbert said at the Atlantic rally. "He can win, and we want the Democrats to win."

Indeed, in an intriguing University of Iowa Poll in early August, Obama received more support from Republican voters--6.7 percent--than all of the other Republican contenders except for Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani. And Obama argues that he can expand the politically viable territory for Democrats more than other candidates by both inspiring Southern blacks to vote and attracting more rural, religious voters.

All together now

In his stump speeches, like the one he gave at the Atlantic fairgrounds, Obama pits the "generosity of spirit and decency of the American people" against the corruption of politics, adroitly making himself the vehicle of his listeners' most noble impulses. Large crowds turn out for his campaign, he says, not because of what he's doing but "because Americans all across the country are desperate for change. They want something new. They want to take this country in a new direction. Part of it is a response to the last six years and the sense that the challenges and difficulties you face here in Atlantic and people are facing all across the country have not been dealt with. We've got a lot of petty politics and a lot of negative advertising but when it comes to the challenges of this country, Washington hasn't done the job."

-------------- PAGE BREAK -------------

In an engaging and authoritative manner, he ticks off Bush's policy failures--healthcare, education, energy, global warming, economic inequality, official contempt for the law, corruption, and a "war that never should have been authorized." But he often warns that simply changing parties in power is not enough to change the politics in Washington.

"Our government has to reflect our deepest values, and our deepest values involve not just thinking about ourselves but thinking about other people," he says. "If there are poor people in Cass County, it impoverishes us all. That idea that I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper, that we're looking after our seniors, our children, our disabled, the vulnerable--that notion has to be reflected not just in our religious institutions, not just in church. It has to express itself through our government. We're all in this together. We rise and fall together. We're not just on our own."

With almost identical language during the same week in Iowa, Edwards and Clinton talked about "shared prosperity" and the need to recognize "we're in this together" instead of thinking that "you're on your own"--political framing terms promoted by the progressive think tank, the Economic Policy Institute.

Bold is better

Yet much as the candidates have converged in rhetoric and some policies, they have staked out differences. Clinton, who hews to an establishment foreign policy view to make herself appear tough, tries to paint Obama's modest but laudable candor and openness on foreign policy as naive. Obama counters that judgment is more important than experience. "Nobody has a longer resume than Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld," he says, "and that hasn't worked out so well."

Both Obama and Clinton have talked about bringing all interested parties to the table to create universal health insurance. But Obama, who like Edwards distinguishes himself from Clinton by refusing contributions from political action committees and Washington lobbyists, also says, "I don't mind insurance and drug companies having a seat at the table. I just don't want them buying all the chairs."

And Edwards, in a pointed critique of Obama, Clinton and "corporate Democrats," argues that it's necessary "to take the power away" from "entrenched powers," not invite them to make a deal on health care, energy or other major problems. At a UAW hall in Ottumwa, Iowa, Edwards said, "The idea that you can cooperate and negotiate with these people and give them a seat at the table is a fantasy." Instead, he said he'd announce his health care plans from the White House lawn, then warn Americans how corporations would attack his proposals. "We can't be cute about this," he said. "We've got to take these people head on."

That criticism strikes at the fault line between the progressive Obama, willing as he often suggests to mobilize popular pressure to bring change, and the post-partisan Obama, intent on bringing everyone together to resolve issues without political conflict.

After years of enduring Bush and the Republican right, "most Democrats are not in any bipartisan unity mindset," says one veteran Iowa political strategist, who is advising another campaign. "They need some red meat."

Progressive Democrats in particular want a presidential candidate who will take advantage of the recent leftward shift in public opinion. Obama appeals to the party's left: He edged out Edwards in a straw poll of participants in a June conference organized by Campaign for America's Future (CAF), a D.C.-based group that mobilizes progressives within Democratic politics, and he and Edwards were virtually tied in an early summer survey of supporters of Democracy for America, a national group that grew out of Howard Dean's campaign four years ago.

But Robert Borosage, co-director of CAF, says Obama has "run a very cautious campaign and chosen to make himself the voice of responsible centrism." With his timidity on issues such as health care, energy and trade, Borosage says, "he's almost Hillaryesque in his caution on positions he's taken. You have to take a lot on faith that he's carrying a progressive banner, but he hasn't been around long enough to know where he'll come down. He's stirred a lot of excitement among young people and people not much engaged in politics, but other progressives have increasing questions about where he is: Is he the new triangulator or one of us?"

William McNary, president of USAction, a national network of statewide progressive citizen groups, personally--but not organizationally--supports Obama as a "genuine progressive" who will "expand the boundaries of American democracy," and heal the rupture with the rest of the world Bush caused with the war in Iraq. But even McNary, who has long known and worked with Obama, says, "If I had to offer any criticism, he's a bit cautious for my taste. People have to see someone who is putting forth bold proposals, not weak, timid programs. Bolder can be better."

In Iowa, where Edwards remains the frontrunner, some polls show Obama gaining strength. State Senator Joe Bolkcom, a lead organizer for the Working Families Win mobilization project of Americans for Democratic Action, sees Obama as inspiring young people much like Howard Dean did four years ago. "One of his main messages is the corruption of special interest money in politics and how that distorts what the country needs now," Bolkcom says. "That's a message that's strong here, and that was one of Gov. Dean's messages."

And John Norris, the field organizer for Sen. John Kerry's upset victory in the 2004 Iowa caucus, contends that older, more experienced Democrats are now joining young Obama supporters, and that Obama has more of an opportunity to grow his support than the more established candidates. "Is he progressive?" Norris says. "In my mind, yes. Ideology is important to me. I don't know there's a great deal of distinction among top candidates, though I think Obama is more progressive than Hillary, who's moved to the right." But Norris also supports Obama because he has the "capacity, insight and approach to re-establish our ties with the world community" and the "enormous capacity to excite a new generation about public service."

"He fundamentally understands that we have to change the way we do politics in Washington," says Norris. "I think everyone else is cynical that we can make a fundamental change. I think you have to start with that fundamental belief or you can't get anything done. He's lived that as a community organizer, working for change from the democratic roots. If you're going to change Washington, it has to start in the countryside."

Can Obama resolve the tension between his post-partisan and progressive personas, and the differing camps of voters they attract? Unless he does, he may not have the opportunity to win the presidency, much less fundamentally change American politics.

David Moberg, a senior editor of In These Times, has been on the staff of the magazine since it began publishing. Before joining In These Times, he completed his work for a Ph.D. in anthropology at the University of Chicago and worked for Newsweek. Recently he has received fellowships from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Nation Institute for research on the new global economy.

California Legislature Black Caucus Endorses Barack

This is from the campaign:

The California Legislature's black caucus on Thursday endorsed Democrat Barack Obama for president, calling the Illinois senator "the only candidate that can unite people to get things done.

It is imperative that we choose the candidate who is committed to addressing the disparity gaps that exist in our communities," said Assemblywoman Karen Bass, a Los Angeles Democrat who is vice chairwoman of the caucus.

"We believe that Sen. Obama is that person, and we will work together to galvanize the black community to be part of the political process by getting involved in it." The caucus represents the eight black members of the Legislature. Besides Bass, they are Assembly members Wilmer Carter, D-Rialto, Mike Davis, D-Los Angeles, Mervyn Dymally, D-Compton, Curren Price, D-Inglewood, and Sandre Swanson, D-Alameda, as well as Sens. Mark Ridley-Thomas, D-Los Angeles, and Edward Vincent, D-Inglewood.

New York Hosts Barack Obama - September 27th 2007

This is from the Obama for America campaign:

Dear Zenophon, Join Barack in NYC

We're planning a big rally in New York City, and I was hoping you could help organize it.

We've launched a powerful new tool on My.BarackObama that lets you make phone calls from home on behalf of the campaign.

Will you make a few calls to folks in and around New York to tell them about the rally? It's easy, and you can get started right here:

We've had these rallies across the country, and it's not just the number of supporters who turn out that's inspiring. It's the individual people and stories behind those numbers.

They're young and old, black and white, Latino, Asian, and Native American. They're Democrats and Independents and more than a few Republicans. Many are showing up to the very first political event of their lifetime.

You could be the one to let fellow supporters know about the rally that they'll remember for a long time. Just click here to start making phone calls:

With My.BarackObama, you have the power to organize from home and make an impact anywhere in the country.

I hope you'll give the new system a try -- we're counting on you to turn people out in New York.

Thank you,


David Plouffe
Campaign Manager
Obama for America

P.S. -- If you're going to be in the New York area on September 27th, consider joining us. You can RSVP and spread the word about the rally here:

For event updates: Text NYC to OBAMA (62262).


President Barack Obama Appoints Iron Man As Defense Secretary

Senator Barack Obama Wow's SEIU Crowd Today - The Atlantic

At SEIU, Obama "Rocked The House"
17 Sep 2007 07:29 pm

WASHINGTON, D.C -- A charged-up Sen. Barack Obama begged politically active members of the Service Employees union to join his “movement” to reform the Democratic Party.

“The question I ask SEIU members is, not "Who is talking about your agenda?" but "Who can change politics in Washington to make that a reality,” Obama said. “Change starts by making sure a Democrat is in the White House. Change doesn’t end just because a Democrat is in the White House. It’s time to turn the page on the old way of doing business.”
In many ways, it was the longest sustained encapsulation of Obama’s complex, primary argument that a Washington, D.C. audience has heard. It was heavy on passion and sloganeering and comparatively free of the nuance that marks that Obama’s regular stump speech.

SEIU's members are temperamentally suited to Obama; he is a longtime friend of Chicago's SEIU Local 880 and worked closely with the union as an organizer and later as a state legislator.
Obama entered the ballroom to cheers, but he left to a sustained chorus of chants: “Obama!, Obama!” The SEIU president, Andy Stern, had to calm his members: ““Everybody take your seats, please. We have other candidates.”
One of them, Sen. John Edwards, is lobbying hard for the SEIU's endorsement. The SEIU members gave Edwards, who spoke several hours after Obama, an equally rapturous reception. "I intend to be the best union president in the history of the United States," he said.

Hillary Clinton was greeted politely, and applause came from the red meat lines she threw at the crowd. Significantly, there were no catcalls when Clinton talked about Iraq. Equally as significantly, the audience did not scream her name in unison when she left.

Obama has generally shrugged off the interest-group glad-handling that is generally required of Democratic presidential candidates, but the energy with which he spoke today made clear that he is eager to associate himself with the SEIU. But not solely for its political clout: he wants SEIU members to ratify his biography – they are an organizing union and he began his career as an organizer – and to ratify his argument that Hillary Clinton is too polarizing, too calculating and too change-averse to pursue transformative policies. If any union – actually, if any coherent part of the Democratic Party – is capable of being drafted into Obama’s movement, it’s the Service Employees. In this vein, the Service Employees executive committee would not dare lend its endorsement to John Edwards if the membership seemed to be supporting Obama.
Obama seems more popular with SEIU members than he does with SEIU executives, many of whom are said to favor Edwards. A senior SEIU official acknowledged that Obama "rocked the house" but noted that a larger-than-usual contingent of Illinois members attended the event, giving Obama somewhat of a home-state advantage here.

Obama’s swipes at Clinton were oblique, and it took his audience a few tries for them to understand what he was getting at. The audience didn’t quite get this: “It’s time we had a Democratic nominee who, after the primary, doesn’t choke saying the word union.”

But they got this:

“The problem is that too many people in this town see politics as a game and so if you think politics is a game then you start evaluating your candidates to see who can play the game best,” Obama said. “The question is: who can actually bring an end to the game plan. It has to be, who can put an end to the division… who can stand up to the lobbyists and the corporate interests … and [say that] American’s interests come first. “
Noting that Clinton had dropped her health care reform policy a few hours before, Obama allowed that it had some “good ideas,” but suggested the messenger – Sen. Clinton – could not be trusted to lead on the issue as president and evoked the secrecy that surrounded her failed 1994 reform attempt. “But the real key in passing universal health care is the ability to bring people together in a process that is open and transparent and builds real consensus, and I’ve got a track record of doing that.”

Obama implied that Edwards was a Johnny-come-lately.

“I’ve spent my entire adult life working with SEIU. I’m not a newcomer to this,” Obama said. “I didn’t suddenly discover SEIU on the campaign trail. Oh, y’all organize. You wear purple, do you?” he said, referring to the spirit color the SEIU has chosen.
But Edwards has spent the past four years courting the SEIU, local-by-local. SEIU officials estimated that a majority of the crowd had previously met him in person. They swarmed him as he entered and exited.

Senator Barack Obama Wins Straw Poll In Ohio - Enquirer

Obama wins Dems straw poll

OAKLEY – It won’t help make him the Democratic presidential nominee, but Illinois Sen. Barack Obama came out on top Tuesday night, winning a straw poll of Hamilton County Democratic Party activists.

Nearly 300 local Democrats crowded into the 20th Century Theater on Oakley Square to choose from among a slate of eight Democratic presidential contenders.

When the votes were tallied, Obama won with 102 votes – about 35 percent – over New York Sen. Hillary Clinton (69 votes) and former North Carolina senator John Edwards (64 votes).

Another 50 votes were spread among five other candidates.

“It’s tremendous,” said State Sen. Eric Kearney, an Obama supporter who has hosted a fundraiser for the Illinois senator in Cincinnati.

“It’s exciting.”

The straw poll, of course, won’t mean anything in the end. Ohio’s presidential primary comes next March; and, by that time, most Democrats believe the presidential nomination will be in the bag, given the number of early primary and caucus states that precede Ohio.

But Obama supporters seemed well-organized at Tuesday night’s straw poll vote, with volunteers out on the street in front of the theater, passing out Obama T-shirts and stickers and urging the arriving Democrats to vote.

Edwards’ supporters had some signs plastered to the walls inside the theater lobby, but there seemed to be no organized effort for Clinton.

Obama supporters erupted in cheers when county party chairman Tim Burke announced the results.

“We need to bring the government back to the people and Obama understands that,” said party activist Freeman McNeil, wearing an Obama “Got Hope?” T-shirt.

“That’s what Obama’s campaign is all about – bringing people together – rich, poor, black and white. The message is getting through.”

Ronn Rucker, a gay rights activist from North Bend, said he considered supporting Obama early on, but switched to Clinton and cast his straw poll ballot for her Tuesday night.

“I’ve met her and I know what a kind and caring person she is,” Rucker said. “And she is ready to be president. I’m not sure Obama is.”

U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Cleveland, had 17 votes in the straw poll, while New Mexico governor Bill Richardson had 16.

Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware was next with 13 votes, while Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut had 4. Former Alaska senator Mike Gravel had no votes.

Students for Barack Obama -- New Video

Senator Obama Live in San Francisco

I spent time this week attending two very different events with the Senator in San Francisco. The first was a private fundraiser at a home in Pacific Heights, attended by over 200 high dollar donors. The second was a public fundraiser luncheon which included ticket prices from $2300 to $25 and was attended by nearly 4000 people. Each of these experiences was inspiring, although in not all the same ways.

First, I have to state the obvious. The Senator continues to be amazingly engaging live. He spoke at each event for more than 30 minutes and then shook hands, signed books, and worked the room a bit. At each event, the energy was electric in his presence.

At the private, smaller event, the Senator spoke about the need for a change of more than parties in the white house. He addressed the fact that he faces a larger challenge in the primary than he would in the general election. And he answered questions from the crowd, addressing how he would address non-proliferation, the early state polls, how he will stand up to attack by the opposition in the general election, and whay supportin him is a more daring and difficult choice than supporting HRC. He was honest, straightforward, unscripted and well reasoned. And let's face it people, in addition to his wisdom and judgment, he is brilliant!!! And that is clear when he addresses a room. And this is desperately needed in Washington right now.

Obama reiterated his intention to close Guantanamo, to reinstate habeus corpus in this country, to responsibly bring the Iraq war to an end, to revise and rework No Child Left Behind, to fund responsible education reform, to re-engage in diplomatic efforts in the middle east and throughout the world, and to make health care affordable and available to all Americans. This is the change that we so desperately need.

Additionally, the Senator addressed questions of experience. He ardently questioned why those in Washington believe that only experience in Washington counts. Remember, the Senator has two decades of experience demonstrating judgment, wisdom, and the ability to effect change in a positive way for citizens of his community. This is experience, no matter what those in Washington count as valid.

Overall, this event was amazing. Though the energy was more subdued, polite applause, but no hooting and hollering, this was clearly due to the high-dollar nature of the event. But, on their way out, those same donors were eager to take home tshirts to share and show their support for this movement. It was clear that people were moved by the Senator's message and clear that he had convert a few undecided votes during his visit.

The following day, the Senator spoke to a larger crowd at the Civic Auditorium, sponsored by California Women for Obama. This crowd was fired up. Obama again addressed his agenda, but spoke directly to women on his position on issues affecting women. He also spoke directly to the power of women and yooung people to affect the 2008 election. The crowd cheered, rose to their feet multiple times, and was clearly invigorated and moved by the Senator's remarks.

I left this second event energized to keep doing whatever work I can to further this movement. And let's remeber, friends, this is a movement. This movement is be advanced by real people, on the grassroots level, spreading the word to everyone they know and reaching out to those they do not know. This effort is about further this movement in our communities, but also about building our communities as we further this movement. So, I challenge us all to take the energu generated by the Senator's visit and to reinvest in this campaign. To ask ourselves what we can give and how we can challenge ourselves to give even more of ourselves.

Fired up!
Ready to go!
Fired up!
Ready to go!

Let's get it done people :)