President Obama came to Hynes Convention Center on Saturday to support incumbent governor Deval Patrick and his running mate Tim Murray as they face a tough challenge from Republican Charlie Baker.
Blast Magazine was there to capture the day in words and pictures.
Media crews were allowed inside at 7 a.m. By this time workers were just about done setting up the auditorium. This orange cherry picker was used to drape the walls with massive flags and banners.
Dwarfed by Old Glory, Deval Patrick campaign member Gavin Davenport pauses in a moment of early morning solitude before the arrival of some 15,000 more attendees.
James Taylor is a Massachusetts native with a history of support for the Democratic party. Here his worn Olson guitar, nestled in a battered case, waits for sound check.
Later in the day, these signs would be handed out to the crows. At one point, some were distributed to the handicapped section but were quickly withdrawn because they were blocking the sign language interpreters.
Near the velvet-covered podium where the president and others would soon be making impassioned speeches, employees of Massachusetts Convention Center Authority give the concrete floor a final sweep.
At 9, more than three hours before doors would open, the line outside was already growing long. Later in the day, after the inside was filled to capacity, Mayor Menino gave a special mention to those who ended up watching the event on monitors.
Charlie Volkstorf is a Cambridge resident whose willingness to show up early has enabled him to see a long list of presidents and other politicians. This time he arrived at four in the morning and was first in line. He avoided food and beverages so that a restroom run wouldn’t to cost him his spot at the front. In case that wasn’t good enough, he said ‘If Mother Nature calls, I have this.’
North Shore resident Eric Kamba arrived at 5 a.m. and took the queue’s second spot. Originally from Congo, he supports Obama but was hoping to confront the president on matters of foreign policy towards Africa. ‘Why hasn’t he said anything about the killing in Congo?’ he asked, ‘Will the aggressors be brought to justice?’
Dorchester resident Michelle Jordan arrived at 6:25 to get a decent spot. ‘I went to the Inauguration but wasn’t able to see him. I’m hoping to see him this time” she said, adding, We’re being part of history.’
Shantanette Patrice, another member of the early-bird contingent from Dorchester, told us, ‘It’s pretty exciting. It’s got to be to make me stand here at 6:25 a.m. on my day off. I don’t do cold.’
Mike Thibodeau of Quincy said, ‘I live and breath politics. I wouldn’t miss this for the world. Whatever Obama and Deval say in there, I’m going to blog about it…I’m going to hit them from the Left when I need to.’
Milagros Vazquez drove up from Providence. Vasquez, who came to the US from Dominican Republic in 1980, sees Obama and Patrick as people to be emulated. ‘It’s an example of the American Dream,’ she said as she waved her flag, ‘You can be a minority, but if you work hard you will succeed.’
The ill-chosen words of supporters are used by both major political parties as a weapon. It’s no surprise this volunteer for the Deval Patrick campaign warned her fellow volunteers, ‘Once you put on a blue shirt, you are not allowed to talk to the press.’
Likewise, photographs of signs that are outrageous or just misspelled are easy fodder for mockery. It’s been on ongoing public relations problem for the Tea Party and it’s something the Democrats want to avoid. According, homemade signs and banners weren’t allowed inside.
Vicki Kennedy, widow of Ted Kennedy, has been taking an increasing-visible role in politics. She demonstrated that Saturday by being one of the first to take the mic and speak on Deval Patrick’s behalf.
Advertising political events is a balancing act, and much is done through private channels such as email. As a result, while those inside fluttered with anticipation for the president’s arrival, many folks in the Back Bay – seen here through a window of Hynes Convention Center – we’re unaware that the president was on his way.
‘The incomparable John Kerry,’ as he was introduced on Saturday, has been a Massachusetts Senator for 25 years. He lost a 2004 bid for the Oval Office, but he’s still a respected elder statesmen and one of the richest guys Democrats tend to love rather than hate.
Standing during the Pledge of Allegiance, this group seated behind the podium wears wristbands identifying them as holders of the much-coveted VIP ‘green tickets.’
As a phone rises rises to snap his photo, James Taylor sings ‘You’ve Got a Friend’ and dedicates it to Deval Patrick. Baby James performed only three songs before the president took the stage, making some fans wish Air Force One had been delayed.
Large numbers of Boston Police, including the motorcycle cops shown here on the right, were present to handle traffic, perform crowd control, and provide an additional layer of security on top of the Secret Service. Noticing how many Boston cops were outside, one attendee commented ‘it looks like half the force is here.’
Thomas M. Menino got enough of his message across to earn the crowds adulation.
Some folks avoided the queue for admittance and instead lined up along Boylston Street holding signs. Relatively few Obama-detractors or supporters of rival political parties were evident.
If not for Deval Patrick’s re-election campaign, there would have been no rally, no speeches, and no presidential visit. Nevertheless, when the leader the free world rolls into town, it tends to eclipse everything else — even the man of the hour.
New England Comic Con taking place at the same venue created the alarming security complication of having masked cosplayers and toy weapons just rooms away away from the President. It also added a strangely-appropriate touch of the surreal. Captain America at a political rally makes weird sense, and Batman nemesis Poison Ivy is sometimes portrayed as an eco-terrorist.
There years ago this month, Senator Barack Obama appeared on Boston Common to rally for Deval Patrick and, of course, drum up support for his presidential bid. Then, his primary focus was tantalizing us with dreams of a better future. Now he mainly warns about re-empowering the political party that created the recession.
Addressing a pragmatic concern, Obama promised the crowd ‘We don’t want to give tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas. We want to give tax breaks to companies that are creating jobs right here in Massachusetts.’ Later in the afternoon, some paid more than $30,000 a ticket to meet the president at a privately-hosted fundraiser in Newton.