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March 20, 2006

Cantwell and Obama: A Round-Up

There has been a lot of great coverage of the Cantwell/Obama rally at Garfield High on Saturday that was attended by about 2000 people.  Here's a round-up of what people have reported:

Andrew at the NPI blog had a straight-forward and thorough report of the proceedings.

Cara Solomon at the Seattle Times has a piece that focuses primarily on Obama, no surprise given his star power, and the strong appreciation for Obama's advice to parents, one of his most memorable lines:

"That money's not going to make a dime's worth of difference if, when your child comes home from school, you don't turn off that television," he said, to applause.

Solomon also points out Cantwell's commitment to education and her own story as the first in her family to go to college.

Will at Pike Place Politics has a sweet piece.  He really likes Cantwell and liked the event.  Here's a key paragraph from his piece:

The Rev. Sam McKinney, a legendary Seattle preacher, made clear that Maria Cantwell is, and has been, good to the Central District. McKinney is from the old days. He remembers the race battles of the sixties and seventies. He stood with Gov. Dan Evans against racial violence.

Rev. McKinney pointedly smacked down the earlier PI article by Robert Jamieson on the irony of Cantwell's being in the Central District at all.  Jamieson has a good point about the opportunity costs of the use of the public tax dollars for the war in Iraq, which is still supported by Cantwell.  Those dollars would be much better used on education.  Nevertheless, he got it wrong about Cantwell not caring about the Central District and McKinney made sure everyone knew that.

In addition to more details on McKinney's support of Cantwell, Goldy had a great observation regarding Joel Connelly's off-line assessment of the event.  Goldy says Joel thought the event had the energy of the last days of a New Hampshire campaign. That says a lot about Cantwell being able to maintain a sizable lead over What's-his-name in this race.  He had a couple other nice pieces to add:

Garfield High was not only the perfect place for the Senators to talk about education… as the symbolic center of Seattle’s black community it was also the perfect place to showcase Cantwell’s support from our nation’s highest profile black elected official, as well as local community leaders themselves.

All in all, it was a great program. From the teen rapper who warmed up the crowd, to the presenters introducing educational programs that have had an impact on the community, to the featured speakers themselves… it was an entertaining and informative afternoon.

There's more.

Carl at Washington State Political Report added a piece about the earlier part of the program, the part that was a community gathering and celebration of the people and education programs that have been developed in the Seattle area, and particularly the Central District to help youngsters, who might not otherwise have a chance, make it through school and get to college. 

The people from the various programs were actually pretty interesting. I think we've all sat through introductory remarks that have made us want to chop our ears off just so we could enjoy sweet, sweet silence. Not so this one.

Joel Connelly had an interview he conducted with Senator Obama up this morning. Of Obama on Saturday, Connelly said, "He connected to the crowd at Garfield on Saturday, with a talk that ranged from personal roots to parental responsibility to America's 20th century march to civil rights."  Connelly talked about the impressive figure that Obama cuts on the national political scene and his commitment to winning back Congress for the Democrats.  Some highlights:

Obama argues that the Democrats CAN get it together on a program that will make life better for ordinary Americans.

He predicts the party will offer a program that includes a drive toward energy independence, greater control over costs and access to health care, and expanded educational opportunities.

"The Democrats made a mistake (in 2004) in shying away from a debate over values," Obama argued. "The American people do have a lot of values that are religion based. They extend far beyond abortion or gay marriage.

"We have a history of empathy toward people going through hard times. We have a history of working cooperatively for the common good. We, as a people, want wise stewardship of the planet.

On the oversight a Democratic Congress would bring to the country:

What should be investigated? Wiretapping without warrants, the federal response to Hurricane Katrina and insufficient attention to security at U.S. ports, Obama suggested for starters.

"We will see change when the White House recognizes that Congress is not a rubber stamp, but an independent entity," said Obama, "when checks and balances are restored."

On the war:

A place to start the needed turnaround is a war in Iraq that has become a quagmire.

"We've reached a point where there are no military solutions to the problems of Iraq. They're all political," Obama said in an interview.

Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish leaders of the fractured country need to get together and "decide if they're for a united Iraq," Obama added. "If they're not, we can't hold that country together. We need to move forward toward the beginning of a phased withdrawal."

If Iraqi leaders want to hold a united country, in Obama's opinion, they will have to shoulder the burden "with technical assistance and some military help" coming from the United States.

Obama predicted that the administration, for all its saber rattling on Sunday talk shows, will start pulling some of America's 140,000 troops out of Iraq by the beginning of 2007.

Which brings me to the last piece I found on Saturday's Cantwell/Obama rally at Garfield. Eli Sanders at the Slog came away with the feeling that Cantwell could land in serious trouble with her Seattle constituency if she doesn’t find a way to address the war.  Good point.

Posted by Lynn Allen on March 20, 2006 at 09:16 AM in Candidate Races | Permalink

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