Democrat Barack Obama held a campaign rally in Portland that attracted tens of thousands of people to Waterfront Park on Sunday. Pete Springer has more.
Thousands of people waited hours in lines snaking through downtown Portland to see and hear Senator Obama.
When the gates finally opened just after noon, hordes of people ran across the grass bowl of Waterfront Park to get close to the area where Obama would speak.
Alfonzo Moore and his wife Deborah didn’t run, but they still managed to get a decent spot.
Alfonzo Moore: “This is really the first political rally that we’ve ever, uh, actually gone to or attended, so you know, we’ve voted before but never really felt strong enough about a candidate until now.”
The Moore’s brought their two daughters, Imara and Mia. They didn’t expect their three month old to get much from the rally, but their hopes were high for their five year old.
Alfonzo Moore: “So hopefully just to inspire her so she’ll remember when she actually came down to see, uh, hopefully President Obama, you know speak here today in front of thousands of people.”
The Moore’s and everyone else had to wait a bit to see their candidate as Portland band The Decemberists took to the stage first.
Then—finally it was time.
Announcer: “Please give a big Portland welcome to the next first family of the United States, the Obamas!”
Barack Obama took the stage with his wife Michelle and their two daughters.
Obama wasted no time working up the crowd, calling the waterfront setting the most spectacular place he had ever held a campaign rally.
Obama said he started running for president over a year ago as a bet between himself and the American people. That bet was that the country could change for the better if everyone worked at it.
Barack Obama: ”Black, white, Hispanic, Asian, native American, young, old, rich, poor, gays, straight -- when all of us are coming together, then there is no challenge we cannot meet, there is no destiny we cannot fill. That was the bet I was making 15 months ago, Oregon.”
Obama hit key issues - the economy, education, health care and to especially loud cheers from the Portland crowd - the need to stave off the worst of climate change by investing in the alternative energy industry "across the country" as Oregon has done.
In his speech, he called his rival Senator Hillary Clinton, "smart and tough and determined," and praised her for running a "terrific contest." But most of Obama's remarks framed the campaign as one between himself and presumptive Republican nominee John McCain.
And he repeatedly noted that Tuesday's primary election in Oregon was not just another primary, but the one that he hopes will put him decisively over the top.
Barack Obama: “We are a self-reliant people, we are an independent people but we are not a people that turns our back on each other. We are a people that depends on each othe, that believes that all of us has to rise together or all of us will fall together. That’s my story, that’s Michelle’s story, that’s the American story. That’s the struggle that we are facing here in this election, that’s what’s at stake on Tuesday here in Oregon.”
Obama supporter Dan Viens agrees -- but even more than that, he’s says he’s tired of seeing the same names -- Reagan, Bush, and Clinton -- in charge for the last 28 years.
Dan Viens: “I personally just do not want to continue that. I want a fresh start. I want something new.”
The Portland Fire Bureau says 75,000 people showed up for the Obama rally -- a number ABC News said was the largest crowd of the entire campaign.
More photos from Obama's campaign rally at Portland's Waterfront Park