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October 18, 2008

St. Louis

Obama St. Louis

In terms of timing as well as momentum, this shot of Obama in front of 100,000 supporters in St. Louis on Saturday seemed remarkably familiar.

Specifically, it was reminiscent of the 75,000 people the campaign drew to the Portland waterfront back in May to help Obama seal the Democratic nomination.

One thing I’ve enjoyed watching over the past year is the mastery of the Obama campaign in adjusting the pace, style and scale of its events.  Alan Chin, our man on the ground, was there in Ohio, for example, when Obama downshifted, switching to a more intimate townhall format to mitigate questions about substance from the Clinton camp.

Even if Obama, having proved himself in the minds of a majority of voters, had the capability to do one mass-scale rally after another between now and election day, I doubt we’d see it.  Given the discipline of this campaign, my guess is they’ll stick with a balance of scales, from quite intimate to staggering, choreographed carefully between drama and touch.

(image: Joe Raedle/Getty. Jefferson National Expansion Memorial October 18, 2008.  St Louis, Missouri)

  • charlie

    This image misses a huge part of the dramatic scale of this event: just out of view on each side of the picture are the massive stainless steel legs of the Gateway Arch. The dark line through the center of the crowd is shadow of the 630 feet high monument.

  • elfpix

    Ånd so many other photos from that event – Obama strolling down the grand staircast from the arch (, with the huge thing behind him and the mob beyond, the arch over the mob with Obama on the platform in the corner (, this amazing one with Obama reflected in the teleprompter under the arch (
    In the face of the robocalls, which are clearly influencing those who wavered during the final debate, a few injections of mobs for Obama may, perhaps, reinforce the sense of being part of a large group which is willing to take the risk of voting for the “other”. And if you don’t believe the Ax and Gibbs figured that out weeks ago when they had to make the reservation for the space and pay for the security detail and publicity for this event, think again.
    These last two weeks will be either a testament to the sheer gall, or the sheer tactical brilliance, of the people planning the Obama campaign.
    Imagine how this would have played if the candidate had not been worthy of it.

  • MonsieurGonzo

    ref : “my guess is they’ll stick with a balance of scales, from quite intimate to staggering
    Really more a function of place, don’t you think? His political base place is in the Cities (the Culture War ~ that being the essential voter demographic distinction ~ is, imho between Urban and non-Urbane peoples). Whereas McCain / Palin dominate most of what remains. When they say, “Country First”… we cannot help but interpret their message as being literally true (and an exclusive plea to them, not an inclusive US, thus).
    The Republicans yet again cynically flaunt to our faces that they have nothing whatsoever to do with “Our Country” as being all of US : they refuse to advocate or even appreciate the existence of a United States. Mrs. Palin goes so far as to suggest (not unlike Mr. Bush) that people and/or places that do not support Republicans are somehow “not part of America.” In addition to their profane slogan, “Country First” …i suggest they could adopt the equally accurate : “Divided We Stand (For)” {grin}
    Lest we forget, such brick-and-mortar City demonstrations of the masses are, today an anachronism : their (the Republicans’) masses are not these Urban thousands but the millions of non-Urbane them, watching TeeVee, sight unseen; as well as all these literal congregations being their Churches = nodes in this hideous, i daresay frightening network of Fundamentalists, quite openly advocating a Theocratic revolution to overthrow our Democracy.

  • Scott

    Ha, the reason Missouri is a swing state is because 3 counties are liberal and 112 which are conservative, but a huge slight majority of Democrats live in the cities, a.k.a. St. Louis, Kansas City, and Columbia (where the University of Missouri is). It’s also the reason Obama won the Missouri Democrat Primary. He only won those 3 counties. He ended up winning that election by like only 700 votes over Clinton.

  • NinaBerman

    I’m amazed at how low tech the scene appears. We see one set of lights and a platform for cameras, but no huge video screens, no massive sound systems, nothing to suggest an event designed for something beyond the actual experience of the participants present. Despite the huge numbers, the photograph shows what looks like a humble person, not a celebrity, or someone larger than life, talking from a very small stage, with no political banners or slogans other than the fairly innocuous red white and blue ribbons. Perhaps all those things so evident at most campaign events, were present, but in the photo they are not seen, and this makes the picture feel to me like I’m witnessing a different kind of politics absent of cynicism.

  • matthew_frederick

    In the Missouri Democratic Primary, Obama won Nodaway, Jackson, Boone, Cole, Saint Louis, amd Saint Louis City counties. (St. Louis City is its own county). That’s six counties.
    Obama also defeated Clinton in Missouri’s primary by 11,732 votes. That’s more than like 700.

  • NinaBerman

    I hadn’t realized this until a friend of mine from Missouri pointed out to me that the courthouse in the back of this photo was where slaves Dred Scott and his wife Harriet, first petitioned for their freedom.

  • Donna

    Balance of scales? You do know that the same day that this picture was taken Obama addressed a crowd of 75,000 in Kansas City?

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