Senator Barack Obama was in my home town of Columbus, Ohio again today, and this time his visit fell on a day I happened to have off, so I figured I would take the opportunity to see him speak in person.
Me and about 60,000 other people.
The appearance was set to take place at the Ohio Statehouse, in downtown Columbus, and the crowd was among the biggest I've ever seen here...at least one that didn't involve an Ohio State University football game. A gigantic, Byzantine line of supporters snaked in bizarre configurations in out out of blocks and alleys to the point I had no idea where it began or ended, and were it not for some friends who allowed me to cut with them, I would have never even figured out how to get in the proper line.
It was a warm, sunny day, particularly for November. The sky was blue, the sun was shining, and the temperature flirted with 60 degrees. A diverse group of people—of all ages, races, and fashion senses—were there, and everyone seemed in a good mood. I didn't even see any protesters of any kind, extremely unusual for a political event of any kind here.
A pastor gave a prayer, the pledge of alleigance was given, the mayor spoke, the governor spoke, a Democratic candidate for attorney general spoke. The national anthem was sung. Then Michelle Obama appeared from inside the Statehouse, and walked down the steps to the podium. A sea of arms shot up, as people tried to capture pictures on their cellphones and digital cameras.
She spoke for a few minutes, introducing her husband, and then he appeared in the door, leading a daughter in each hand as he descended the steps, embraced his wife, and then took the podium and she and their daughters left.
Obama plunged into the latest version of his stump speech, which was recently altered to include Vice President Dick Cheney's endorsement of his rival Senator John McCain, taking some lighthearted jabs at Cheney, while admonishing the crowd with his standard, "We don't need that; we just need to vote," when the booing started at Cheney's name.
And then this man so often praised for his rhetoric and eloquence made his blunder.
Cheney's endorsement had given Obama more ammunition for the John McCain = Third Bush Term line of attack, and after mentioning the fact that McCain voted with Bush 90-percent of the time and now supported Bush's economic policies completely, Obama said, "That's not a maverick, that's a sidekick."
As the crowd chuckled, he went on, "He's like Kato to The Green Lantern."
I know, right? Can you believe Obama confused The Green Hornet with The Green Lantern?! Does America really want a president who can't tell the difference between The Green Hornet and Green Lantern?
That's not change we can believe in.