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Several Thousand Attend Obama Fundraiser in Madison [View All]

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ariesgem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-15-07 02:15 PM
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Several Thousand Attend Obama Fundraiser in Madison
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By The Associated Press

Presidential candidate Barack Obama greeted an overflow crowd of 4,000 in Madison today with a sports joke: "Never before have this many Packers fans cheered for a Bears fan," the U.S. senator from Illinois told the throng of college students and others.He quickly shifted gears, and appealed for help in his campaign for the Democratic Party nomination. "I want to bring about a better America, and I need you to make that happen Madison," the Democrat said.

Organizers are calling the campaign event the largest student-driven event the Obama campaign has held. More than 300 people were lined up to see Obama at the Monona Terrace Convention Center before the doors opened this morning at 9:30 a.m. and by 11 a.m. more than 1,000 were waiting for admittance to an overflow area. Audience members said they were impressed by the charisma Obama sustained throughout the 48-minute speech.

He won applause with jabs at President Bush, the Iraq War and special interest groups. He also stirred the audience with promises of health care for all Americans and better pay for educators. He mixed in examples and stories from his life that underscored his message of millions of individuals uniting to effect change. "I will open up the doors of government and ask you to participate in our democracy," Obama said. "I'm not just asking you to trust in my ability to lead this country. I'm also asking you to trust in yourselves."

Obama urged the youthful crowd to get involved in the campaign as he ended leading chants of "Fire it up!" and "Ready to go!" Amber Duerwaechter, a senior at Neenah High School, drove two hours with a group of classmates to attend the event. She said she felt jealous that she didn't live during the politically charged 1960s when John F. Kennedy and the Vietnam War motivated young people to be more involved. "Young people need to believe in a cause," Duerwaechter said. "Our generation is failing to take ownership for what's going on."

Jeanne VonHuene, visiting her son Karl from Oakland, Calif., where she saw Obama speak earlier this year to 15,000 people, said Obama's message also appealed to seniors struggling to pay medical bills. "For old people there's a lot of hopelessness," VonHuene said. "But we still are going out there and rallying for peace."


About 3,000 tickets had been sold before the event began, driven largely by a UW-Madison student campaign push. The event was taking place at Monona Terrace to provide more room for the crowd. It was originally booked at the Orpheum Theatre, which holds 1,500 people.
Tickets were $15 for students, $30 for general admission.
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