On Barack Obama’s Homepage

Read the article here.

I took a trip with other like-minded students to the Barack Obama rally in New York City. The Rutgers Student-run Newspaper – The Daily Targum covered the rally on its front page last week. That article and the link is below.

Obama: Are you ready to go?

By: Dmitry Sheynin and Jessica Durando / Staff Writers

Posted: 9/28/07

NEW YORK – Dressed in scarlet and sporting homemade signs, a group of 17 Rutgers University Democrats ascended the subway steps at Penn Station yesterday to catch the C-train downtown where a rally was taking place.

They joined thousands of people in New York’s Washington Square Park who came to see Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., a 2008 presidential candidate, speak about education, the Iraq War and health care.

“We are tired of an administration that sees the Constitution as an obstacle to be avoided. We are tired of a justice department that doesn’t seem to put a premium on justice. We’re fed up with a war that shouldn’t have been authorized,” Obama said, standing on the stage wearing a white button down shirt with the sleeves rolled up and a pair of black slacks. “It’s time to say enough. We are tired of being sick and tired.”

RU Democrats President Brett Tinder, a Livingston College junior, said the rally has served as the best opportunity the organization has found so far to get the members involved in next year’s presidential race. But the group’s presence did not represent an automatic endorsement for Obama.

“If John Edwards was coming to give a rally somewhere in New Jersey or New York, we’d be going. If it were Hillary Clinton, we’d be going,” Tinder said. “As a club, we won’t endorse any candidate until the nominee is chosen.”

Maxwell Lorick, a New York University first-year student, said Obama has a unique appeal amongst college age people. Other attendees agreed.

“I think he’s very popular for the younger generation mainly because he’s not accepting federal funds for his campaign. He’s raising it grass roots. Lobbying isn’t interfering with the campaign,” said RU Dems member Alex Holodak, a Rutgers College junior. “We need to get away from the usual kind of politicians. He just comes off as a guy looking to change Washington.”

Alan Jiang, an NYU first-year student, said he stood in line since 1:20 p.m. waiting for the gates, which opened at 5 p.m.

“I’m not even American. I’m Canadian,” Jiang said. “I just love Obama.”

But some attendees present were not as supportive of the candidate.

Logan del Fuego, a City University of New York student, said he didn’t want to endorse either Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., or Obama because there are pros and cons associated with both candidates.

“There seems to be a trade off,” Fuego said. “Hillary has the experience, but she has more backs to scratch. Obama lacks the connections Hillary has. It’s power that he doesn’t have.”

During his speech, Obama used a personal anecdote to explain the state of the country’s health care system. He said when his mother died of cancer at 53 years old in the hospital, she wasn’t thinking about her mortality but instead about whether health care would cover her medical bills.

“I will pass legislation that will give all Americans the same access to health insurance that I get as a U.S. senator,” Obama said.

He also made it a point to defend his credentials in the face of critics describing him as inexperienced.

“They call me a hope monger. I’m guilty as charged. They call it a symptom of my lack of experience. Well, I’ve been a public servant for over two years. I may not have the experience Washington wants but I promise you I have the experience America needs,” Obama said. “There are a couple of guys named George Bush and Dick Cheney who have two of the most impressive resumes in Washington. Longevity does not guarantee good judgement.”

But some RU Dems questioned his ability to win the democratic primary and the presidency.

“I like Obama’s politics better than Hillary’s or McCain’s,” said Dominic Bombace, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore. “I don’t know if America is ready for a female president or a black president. You have to take that into account. Not everybody lives in Jersey.”

Caryn Miller, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student, said he is inexperienced but believes he is less polarizing than other democratic candidates.

“I like Hillary’s ideas and views but the GOP is so anti-Hillary that if she gets the nomination it would be all about pro-Hillary or anti-Hillary,” Miller said. “Someone like Obama is not as polarizing but I do think he needs more experience. It’s only his first term in the Senate. I think he could probably adapt but he would probably have to look to his advisors a lot.”

Tinder said the RU Dems are working in an effort to align itself with all democratic candidates, regardless of the fact that some group members do have their favorites.

“I don’t want people to think that the Rutgers Democrats are only in support of Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton,” he said. “We’ve met with both campaigns so far. We feel it’s important [to be there] because we want to be affiliated with these campaigns, we want to reach out to them.”

Besides attending future rallies in support of democratic candidates, the RU Dems are also working in an effort to include more of the student body in democratic politics on the New Brunswick campus. Tinder said they were working with other organizations to bring candidates to the University.

Toward the rally’s close, songs with messages of faith and hope played over the speakers as the rally disintegrated into an impromptu dance party.

Obama asked the crowd, “New York, are you fired up? Are you ready to go?”

Attendees answered him, shouting back, “Ready to go.”


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