Sunday, April 06, 2008


It was a two-for-one weekend here in Missoula for myself and many others.

Saturday morning my family went to see Barack Obama speak at the University and then this morning my friend, Nance, and I went to see Hillary Rodham-Clinton speak in a large hangar building next to the airport. They were very different events.

Obama spoke to a crowd of 7,500, with another 500 (including my husband, children and father-in-law, who didn't have tickets like I managed to secure) watching outdoors on a video screen set up for the overflow. I arrived two and a half hours before Obama spoke, stood in line in falling snow for an hour and a half, and then sat alone up in the bleachers of the basketball arena--not bad seats by any measure, but not close-by either. At least I was much warmer than the rest of my family out on the football field.

Hillary spoke to about 1,800 people, two hundred shy of the building's capacity. Knowing that the venue was so much smaller, I decided to arrive earlier for Hillary's event, and we were in line by 7:30 for an 11:00 event. For our frozen fingers and toes, we were awarded seats in the fifth row, right in the center, only about fifteen feet from where the senator stood. We found it curious that the venue didn't fill to capacity and felt bad for the hard-core faithful few who had camped out on the front steps all night in sleeping bags in the below-freezing temperatures, afraid they wouldn't get seats otherwise.

Obama's rally was more like a sporting event, with a festival atmosphere outside in line, followed by a polished, high-energy and high-tech performance in the building. Clinton's was more of a town hall meeting, with an enthusiastic but more subdued crowd and a casual Q&A session afterward.

I am still sorting through my notes and analyzing all that I saw and heard. It was all a little overwhelming to this girl who has never really been too interested in politics. I will write more thoughts as I process.

I'm hoping John McCain will eventually come to town, too, assuming he gets the Republican nomination. I would love to hear him speak, too, to round out the experience.

It is not often that the national political scene comes to little ol' Montana, known only as a fly-over zone as candidates head west to Seattle or Portland. So having both Clinton and Obama here on back-to-back days, both offering free events to the public, was a BIG deal here. I am glad I was able to attend both, but it was a serious whirlwind.

Oh, and Andy and I also drove to Helena and back, two and a half hours to the north-east, to go pick up a bathtub we had purchased for our future master bathroom--just because it wasn't a busy enough weekend already.

I'm still trying to think of a good joke, along the lines of "Two guys walk into a bar..." to sum up how funny Nance and I felt when we pulled up and looked around at Hillary's event today, an event which was populated not only with a high percentage of women, but more specifically a good many obviously female couples (well, not all obviously women, but obviously couples, at least--you know what I'm saying). "Two women, neither one wearing makeup and both wearing comfortable shoes, walk into a Hillary Clinton rally..." Let's just say, we fit right in.

One last photo from this weekend--my prediction, whether I support it or not--for what will happen in November:


Mister Ed T said...

I'm not surprized at what you report. How much of Obama is "hype" and how much is substance? Hope you get to hear McCain too.

alison said...

I thought of you yesterday as I was putting my own make-up on. :)

Sheila said...

Nance and you - that is still making me smile, a day later :)
BTW, loving all the fun stuff on the side bar! I played Spelling Bee until I got one wrong - 86%, though, not too bad :)