University Of Cininnati

Barack Obama Speaks To 10,000+ At The University Of Cincinnati


It was cold, blistery morning in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Feb. 25. Despite the conditions, that did not stop hundreds of students and constituents from lining up outside the Fifth Third Arena at the University of Cincinnati (UC), as early as 9 a.m. to hear democratic presidential campaign candidate Barack Obama's speech scheduled for that afternoon.

I made plans to arrive early to campus that day to beat the "Obama madness." I knew the fervor of the Democratic campaign had become an unstoppable force. As I glanced through the window of the office I shared with 2 other graduate students, located only a few hundred yards away from the mayhem, I wondered how difficult it would be to gain admittance.

Thousands of Obama fanatics dotted the campus landscape by noon, transforming the university into the hub of political attention. The curiosity got the best of me, I ventured to the campus coffee shop to get a cup, and surveyed some of the crowd to see the average waiting time.

"I've been here for two and a half hours, so there is no doubt who it is I am voting for," replied a young woman to my question.

Dressed in her Bearcat attire (the UC mascot), I assumed she was a student who was probably skipping class.

An elderly couple responded to my inquiry: "We've been here for almost two hours, because we believe that Obama can make the change this country needs."

I reasoned that there was a plethora of individuals who would answer similarly. Anyone who would bear the 20 degree weather for two hours plus was surely convinced that Obama was the right candidate.

However, I myself, a Democrat still didn't know who I should vote for, Clinton or Obama. A decision that has been tormenting.

I decided to wait until the line dissipated, because I certainly was not that passionate about waiting so many hours for a speech that I was unsure would move me to a decision. A little, after 2:30 p.m., I made my way over to the arena after glancing through my office window and seeing the campus landscape return to its normal state. And to my surprise, I had no trouble getting in. As I made my way to the available seating, Cincinnati's Mayor Mark Mallory was wrapping up his introduction. Mayor Mallory publicly solidified his endorsement of Obama, which elicited a large roar from the 10,000 plus crowd.

As a result, I had to settle for seating in the upper deck section of the facility, where I could barely make out Obama from the small stage erected at center court. Through out his speech he spoke about rolling back tax credits for the rich, the state of the educational system, the U.S. job outsourcing crisis, ending the war in Iraq, and giving health care to the 40 million plus without insurance. Typical issues that a presidential candidate would address.

Obama's speaking style was not what I expected. "We want to turn the page. We want a new chapter in our American history," stated Obama. But, it was not what he said, but how he said it that was most impressionable. He was a soft well-spoken man, not what you initially conceptualize when you envision an animated presidential campaign candidate.

He didn't yell, or make empty promises to attempt to gain your attention. He didn't have extensive outlined strategy for the issues he had identified, but in his heart warming tone, he insisted that he would not be afraid to go against the grain in attempting to solve the issues. And if his initial strategy were not optimal he would reevaluate and reformulate a new solution to resolve the critical issues facing our government. Obama assured he would undertake change for the country if nominated as the democratic candidate, and urged Cincinnatians to vote at the upcoming primaries as he stated, "It is absolutely critical that we have an extraordinary turnout."

Needless to say, I still don't know who I am voting for, but I have a few days to figure it out