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PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — A large crowd formed at 8 a.m. Friday outside of the Pan Am Hanger here in Portsmouth, where Barack Obama was scheduled to appear.
Obama read through his speech to the unstoppable cheers of the crowds in front of him. “The American people began down the road to change,” he said. Entrance polls in Iowa showed that 51 percent of voters seeking “change” caucused for Obama Thursday.
People were there to show support, yes, but also to meet the man.
There were also others that were less certain still wanting to learn what he stood for and if they should back him on his run for the White House.
“I got here at 8:30 … I’m still trying to decide who to vote for,” said “Angelynne,” who was standing on line to greet the senator. She said that she was enjoying the attention the candidates were giving New Hampshire voters. “People in other states have to pay money to see these people, we get begged!”
With a debate scheduled for Saturday, many of the candidates are showing up in New Hampshire to prepare and use the opportunity to get voter support. Even the cold did not deter people from filling the Hanger. The temperature hung in there at four degrees.
Obama started out talking about where he came from and how that influenced who he is. He said that he didn’t always live in Chicago, but he wanted to work at the grass roots level.
“There were a group of churches who had come together to try deal with the devastation of steel plants being closed, and for three and a half years I worked as an organizer, with them to bring job training to the unemployed, economic development to communities that had been torn apart,” he said. “It was the best education I ever had … One of the things that I learned was ordinary people can do extraordinary things when given a chance.”
He said many times throughout the speech how he was trying to bring all of America together. “We are one nation; we are one people; the time for change has come.”
He talked about the different people that came to the caucus where he stood shaking hands — the high school seniors, unsure of how a caucus works; the Democrats; the Independents that believe in him; and even the Republicans, who broke party lines to caucus for the Democrat. He said that he was trying to make “a new working majority, go out and remake America, and then change the World.”
He believes in “Hope over Fear,” “Unity over division,” — that he will be the president that “Will be willing to disagree with you, without being disagreeable.”
“I won’t tell you what you want to hear, I will tell you what you need to hear.” He said he will be the president that doesn’t owe his election to big businesses and special interests.
Hope was an ever-present theme. He acknowledged that the other politicians are criticizing his experience, calling him a “Hope Monger.” They want him to be “Seasoned and Stewed.” They want to "boil all the hope out of me," he said. “Hopes that I saw in the eyes of the people walking into the caucus.”
What does Obama believe hope is? “Hope is that belief that we can work for and fight for that which was denied to us.”
He ended his speech talking about old fashion politics and shook hands with everyone in the crowd that he could.