Crowd laps up Obama's finale

Obama panics his security detail as he steps into the crowd.


    Obama's final campaign stop at Manassas is less than subtle [AFP]

    In a frantic last day of campaigning the candidates are criss-crossing the country hoping that last speech, that last thought might swing votes their way.

    An hour's drive outside Washington lies the town of Manassas. The site of two civil war battles, it's now part of the election battleground state of Virginia.

    No democratic candidate has won here since Lyndon B Johnson in 1964. In the opinion polls, Obama is now three points ahead. A win here and he is well on his way to the White House. This is where he held his first rally of the general election campaign and tonight, on a mild autumn night, he brings the whole thing to a close in front of thousands of people.

    As we arrive at the site, news comes through that Obama's grandmother, the woman who essentially raised him, has died.  She was 86.

    For the supporters, there are expressions of sadness but anticipation of hearing from the man they believe is a president in waiting.

    For the hours before, the crowd tingles with excitement. It's like a rock concert with upbeat tunes being pumped out. 

    Beautiful Day by U2, Aretha Franklin's Respect and even the old disco standard Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now blare out. Subtle it isn't.

    Impressive crowd

    As temperatures drop, the crowds only get bigger, stretching way into the distance from my vantage point near the front. It looks as if 80,000 have turned out, an impressive figure by any standards.

    Obama gives his final greeting to the crowd
    More than an hour late, he arrives. Barak Obama strides on to the stage looking tired and pleased to be close to the end.

    The speech was the one he has used several times with the one main message, change is coming.

    He is relaxed enough to share some amusing tales from the campaign trail and the crowd lap it up. Although he could have read the ingredients from a recipie book and they would have cheered and hollered. 

    And then it was done. The end of the campaign for the preisdency. 

    To the sound of Stevie Wonder's Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours Obama causes a minor panic in his security team by walking off the front of the stage towards the crowd. Here he finds the last hands to shake, the last turn on the carousel.

    Barak Obama, like John McCain, has done all he can. The people will now decide who has done enough.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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