Like many people in America tonight, I am staying in. I'm grabbing a snack or two, making myself comfortable on my couch, and flipping on the television to tune into what is rumored to be a powerful and potentially historic speech from Barack Obama, the official Democratic nominee, as he makes his case for becoming our next commander in chief live from Denver's Invesco Field.
It's estimated that over 75,000 people are in attendance this evening, for what is shaping up to be an exciting and intensely emotional night. One can only stare at the TV screen and wish they were there as well, in the crowd, in the moment, dancing to Stevie Wonder. Sure, I can dance in my living room, but is it really the same for those of us that are not in Denver this evening, the millions of viewers observing this speech from the comfort of their own living rooms like myself?
Perhaps not, but we can get an account from someone that is actually there. As the readers of Newsvine know by now, some of our own Newsvine reporters, Killfile, Viki "Babbles" Gonia, and Calvin Tang, have been providing us with non-stop coverage of the Democratic National Convention in Denver, giving us their own unique perspectives of a variety of events this week. Tonight is no different, they are waiting anxiously in the crowd at Invesco Field to observe Obama's acceptance speech and are sending me, your couch potato pundit for the evening, their observations and reactions to the speech tonight. We encourage you to leave your own impressions in the comments as well.
Onto the live reporting!
Obama still isn't on. There is waiting, and more waiting. Rumors that Obama has arrived, quick shots of Michelle Obama in the crowd. The excitement is starting to build, there is much flag waving and dancing and hopping, smiles all around. I'm not sure if I'm picking up on the excitement of the audience via the TV, or if I'm just excited for my own reasons, waiting anxiously for Dick Durbin to finish riling up the crowd.
Killfile takes advantage of a quieter moment to fill us in on the pre-speech atmosphere, comparing it to a rock concert (or an R&B concert, Calvin Tang would like to add). The audience is keeping themselves busy doing the wave, posing for pictures, obtaining banners that are being passed out and getting ready. There is much enthusiasm and joy in the crowd, a strong statement made by one is immediately echoed in the crowd or followed up with a "Hell yeah!", as if, Killfile notes, they are in a lively Baptist Church.
Case in point – I see that Durban has just started a chant merely by saying the campaign catch phrase "Yes we can", now being echoed throughout the stadium in unison, providing a backdrop for his finish.
Killfile notes: "You will never hear 75,000 people so quiet" as the crowd is silently observing the video about Obama.
And Obama is out! The crowd is going wild, I see a sea of Blue Obama/Change signs waving wildly in the front of him. His first words are thanking the crowd, and met with even more thunderous applause, and his attempts to quiet down the crowd aren't working, no matter how many times he says "Thank you so much, thank you very much, thank you". His attempts to start the speech are only met with a chanting of "O-bam-a, O-bam-a" Two minutes the crowd has been going, and Obama finally is able to speak.
Viki has chimed in to agree that Obama has received an incredibly enthusiastic response, and notes that people are stomping their feet, actually causing the bleachers to shake.
The obligatory "I accept your nomination for president of the United States" is met with screams, as both Viki and myself pick up on. The people in the audience are going to lose both their hearing and their voices, the only question is which will go first.
The second thing to get out of the way is a thank you for Hillary Clinton, also met with much applause. It's a nice shout out, they are both trying really hard to shake the "death match" image the media keeps trying to force on them. There is praise for Kennedy, and a quick thank you to Biden, after noting that he takes the train to and from work every day. Just like you! Am I sensing the beginning of a theme here?
Viki points out that people absolutely "idolize" Michelle, evident from the cheers when Obama refers to her in the crowd to thank her.
Obama's daughters are adorable. They are so happy.
Obama is telling the audience that in America, you can achieve anything you put your mind to, hard work pays off - America can come together. More talk about "ordinary Americans", attempting to frame themselves as the party that will represent them, they are really trying to drive this point home tonight. Starting off with the economy is a good move by the Obama camp, as is tying everything back to "ordinary Americans".
An update from Calvin notes that "America we are better then this" and "enough" really struck a cord with the crowd. He points out that they audience is chanting "eight is enough", which I couldn't decipher. Viki catches this as well, saying that the audience moans "Nooooo" at the mention of eight more years of Republicans.
The audience has become silent, says Viki, hanging on to every word Obama is saying.
Jabs at McCain's "forgetfulness" are met well by the crowd. In a great move, Obama is claiming that John McCain just "doesn't get it", met with wild applause by the crowd. They get it. Tonight is the night that Obama attacks the "out of touch" and "elitist" labels, and good on him for doing so.
CSPAN has just cut to a woman in the crowd, she is in tears, waving the flag.
Viki says that it's like he's preaching to the choir, which, she adds, he is.
Calvin notes that the house is about 95% full (plus the whole floor).
"I don't know what kind of lives John McCain thinks celebrities lead, but this is my life" (after referring to his upbringing and self-made achievements). A great takedown of a silly talking point. The audience agrees.
Viki notes that Obama is really connecting to the audience with his jokes and really strong rhetoric.
Calvin spies some DNC girls that are saying "I love him" and ogling Obama. Sounds like someone else is doing some ogling of their own, eh Calvin?
Another crying woman has been spotted in the crowd!
Viki has a dilemma: There's a young woman that keeps standing up trying to get someone else in the arena to find her – it's creating some tension in the crowd. Viki is pondering taking her down.
Do it, Viki. And film it.
Viki's area is very supportive of Obama's energy policies. There is an eruption of cheer after the assertion that we will end our dependency on oil. Even more cheers for the promise of fixing education, but then back to cheering for Obama's stated commitment to alternative energy.
Obama is managing to pull everything back to the main theme of fighting for average Americans - education, military benefits, health care, financial aid for college, it all ties back to the idea that everyone should have the opportunities and resources to achieve.
Obama's challenge to McCain to debate on who has the right temperament to lead the country was met with much applause. He is also commenting on McCain's attempt at using "distractions" on major issues. He's othering McCain as different from other Americans, using his currently unpopular stance on staying in Iraq to do so. He's also calling out McCain's "Talking tough", pointing out that the claims he'll hunt Osama bin Laden down are inconsistent with the inaction with finding where Osama even is. The audience is completely in tune with him and cheering him all the way.
Killfile points out that he can here the air handlers when the crowd isn't cheering, showing how intently focused they are on Obama's words. This is something that I am not picking up on through the TV. The silence is broken when the crowd starts chanting "USA USA!".
This crowd really likes to chant.
Obama is talking about how difference can find compromise – Abortion, Gun Control, Gay rights. Killfile observes that gay rights got a bigger cheer then gun restrictions, the applause is thundering.
"The change we need doesn't come from Washington, it comes to Washington." This is a good line. The audience seems to think so as well.
Killfile reports that the MLK reference has the audience going nuts, and speculates that they probably would have kept cheering if Obama had not cut them off.
Obama ends to thunderous applause, and the camera views on CSPAN are incredible. Even with these wide angle shots, I don't think I can begin to imagine the actual size and scope of this crowd. The benefits of using an outdoor stadium for the rally becomes apparent when the night is ended with a fireworks display, with the clapping of the audience as the soundtrack taking us out for the night.
So what are your thoughts on Obama's speech? Discuss it here!