INDIANAPOLIS-- This one was a rock concert. Literally. The legendary musician Stevie Wonder took the stage prior to Barack Obama addressing a crowd of roughly 20,000 at the American Legion Mall in downtown Indianapolis.
The rock and roll hall of fame musician got the crowd fired up for Obama. He even had some in the press area tapping their feet and nodding their head to the beat. That's something I usually don't see.
It's no secret that Obama draws big crowds, and gets people excited, but this one had people dancing and singing in the rain. Yes, it rained, and many didn't mind, they danced under their umbrellas.
Obama took the stage at roughly 9:45 p.m. to a welcoming crowd after an introduction by Congressman Andre Carson, and the performance by Stevie Wonder. When he got on stage , the rain stopped.
It's funny how a crowd can be so lively and jazzed up, and then so attentive only moments later. When Obama delivered his stump speech, people listened. At times you could almost hear a pin drop. And the only thing out of the ordinary was at the beginning of his speech, his mic briefly went out, '"I'm still here," he joked.
The crowd was diverse. Old, young, middle-aged, babies, kids and teens. It was a mix of all kinds of people that represented the unity he talks about in his speeches.
"...black and white and Hispanic and Asian and Native American, if young and old and rich and poor and gay and straight if all of us remember that we are Americans first, then nothing can stop us. There's no challenge we can't solve, there's no destiny we cannot fulfill..."
Obama addressed the economy, war, healthcare and education. He also said, "I wouldn't hesitate to strike against those who would do us harm." This was a statement that I haven't heard him say repeatedly on the campaign trail. He said it, and then moved on.
With all the gas tax "holiday" back and forth between Clinton and Obama, it seemed like the night wouldn't be complete without Obama addressing it. So, he took a couple hits at Clinton.
"When you hear Senator Clinton and John McCain, both offering the same solutions, a gas tax holiday that will offer you pennies for 90 days, but probably won't deliver those pennies because every time we've have tried this what ends up happening is the oil companies end up just jacking up their prices, by the same amount the tax is lowered, and you know that its a gimmick. And you know you are being tricked, and that politicians are saying something just to get through the next election, instead of actually solving the problem, and we've had enough of that."
And he didn't stop there.
"Today Senator Clinton said I'm going to take it right to OPEC, and I thought to myself, You say you've been in the White House for eight years and you've had two terms as a United States Senator, and haven't said a word about OPEC. And now suddenly your going to take it right to OPEC, when you have opposed fuel efficiency standards that would actually reduce demand for oil and put OPEC in a bind? That's not being straight with the American people.
He spoke with confidence tonight, the evening before Indiana voters head to the polls.
"I'm telling you Indiana it's within our grasp but we've got to go and seize this moment, there's a moment in the life of every generation where that spirit of hopefulness has to come through, this is our moment, this is our time."
When he left the stage, and after shaking hands with the crowd, the rain started again.
"I feel that Barack Obama has a plan that will implement it and carry it through," said Willa Dorrough, an Indy local.
Mrs. Vera Robinson agreed, "he's got a vision, and with that vision, with that following, we can make a change," she said. Jarrett Robinson put it his own way, he said "Obama's my man, that's all I got to say."
"I've never been inspired to see a politician before," said an excited Karen DeForrest, who is from Indianapolis. She has been helping the Obama campaign by canvassing, and said she plans to do so in the Fall too. "He's got to be the next president."