07 July 2008

Barack Obama in Butte Montana: Happy Independence Day

Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama spent the Fourth of July holiday in Butte, Montana (aka Butte, America). His day began at the parade, where he briefly addressed the crowd and then watched the proceedings. From there, he was the guest of honor at a town picnic. At both the parade and picnic, of course, the crowd sang "Happy Birthday" to the now 10-year old birthday girl Malia.

For me, the event began with waiting in line to get picnic tickets at the Venus Cafe:

It was a short wait, and I chatted with line-mates Susan Vuke, Dean McElwain, and Sam Schultz:

Here's the Obama family walking from their bus past the World Museum of Mining and to the picnic grounds:

Joined by his wife Michelle and daughters Malia & Sasha, the Independence Day picnic began with introductions by U.S. Senator Max Baucus:

Introductions by Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer:

Greetings from Michelle Obama:

And note that when Michelle talks, Barack listens. Good man:

Then came a short speech from the (we hope!) next president of the United States, Barack Obama:

The crowd was very supportive, to say the least. Although Butte leans toward the labor-Democrat end of the spectrum and gave majority-support to Hillary Clinton in the primary, Butte is what Gramps would have called "Yellow Dog Democrat"--folks would rather vote for a yellow dog than vote Republican. With a truly fine candidate like Obama, it has been easy for former Clinton-supporters I've talked with to make the transition:

After the speech came warm and personal greetings from both Barack:

And Michelle:

A young girl from the crowd recognized Michelle, called her name, and rushed toward her. Just as the girl's mother was scooping her up, Michelle held out her arms and Mom passed the kid over. It was a wonderful moment, and as my wife Jan has said, "I'd like to vote for Michelle:"

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