Amid loud music and a young, energetic crowd, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) addressed issues including political views on the environment, health care, education, the war in Iraq, nuclear weapons and taxes at a campaign rally Tuesday night.
More than 600 people gathered in an empty parking lot on 11th and H Streets, circling the Illinois senator as he spoke for 50 minutes from a mini stage at the center of the lot. Tobin Van Ostern, deputy directory of Students for Barack Obama, said more than 200 GW students attended.
“Some say that politics is just a game. It is my belief that we should bring an end to game-playing,” Obama said as supporters cheered.
“We are going to create a new kind of politics, that politics is a mission and power should not trump principle.”
Obama’s speech targeted liberal Americans frustrated by the actions of the Bush administration. He said he would be an honest president and would make sure that tax breaks promote the interests of the working class, not the rich.
“Sometimes we have to tell the truth even when it is not convenient. We must talk to friend and foe alike,” Obama said. “I will not be a perfect president, but I promise always to be honest about challenges.”
Obama rifled through a horde of goals in the rally including the restoration of habeas corpus, providing each American with health care coverage by the end of his first term and making college more affordable.
He said if elected he will “recruit an entire army of teachers, pay them more and work with them, not against them, to improve standards in the classroom because good education is the foundation of this country.”
By the end of his speech, Obama had the entire audience and the dozens of bystanders surrounding the parking lot chanting, “I’m fired up. I’m ready to go.”
First-year GW Law student Ashley Rankin is an active Obama supporter and member of GW Law Students for Barack Obama. GW Law Students for Barack Obama is holding fundraising events to support the senator’s campaign tour throughout November.
“Every time I see him speak the crowd becomes inspired,” Rankin said. “He seems to be able to make people look at their commonalities rather than their differences. He inspires a hope that seems to be above politics, something that everyone can believe in.”
The Obama campaign – called the Count Down To Change Campaign – has been to Iowa, Texas, California and Georgia.
“His speech was the right amount of his political agenda and getting to know him,” said freshman Valeria Cogliani.