Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick came to Amherst this morning to hold a rally for presidential candidate Barack Obama ahead of this Tuesday's primary. Most of the Valley's political establishment is backing Hillary Clinton, and held a large rally for her a few days ago in Springfield, so this Amherst rally was meant to be a kind of counter-rally by the anti-Clinton forces.
There was a pretty good crowd considering what a cold, dreary morning it was today, but I would have expected it to have been even larger. Conspicuous in their absense: Black people.
Part of the problem is that the rally was thrown together with just 36 hours notice and there were contradictory reports in the media as to when the rally would be. The Hampshire Gazette reported the rally would begin at ten, but the Springfield Republican said 9:30. Deval was late, so in the end it didn't start at either time.
WWLP-TV22 was there interviewing the audience.
Organizers took advantage of the event to recruit volunteers for future campaigning if Obama should win the nomination.
There were lots of homemade signs, such as this clever one.
State Representative Ellen Story (left) was there greeting her constituents.
Town Hall types were also on hand, such as Town Manager Larry Shaffer (center).
Interestingly, I overheard the person on the left tell the Town Manager, "Larry Kelly should hold a Romney rally and see if anyone shows up." They all laughed.
About quarter past Governor Patrick suddenly appeared.
Despite keeping the crowd waiting in the cold, Patrick received a warm welcome. There is no denying the guy has a lot of charisma. As to whether he's lived up to people's expectations of what his governorship would be, well that's another matter.
The first time I ever met Deval Patrick was in Amherst, at a meeting he held at the Jones Library just days after he announced his candidacy for governor. He was a virtual unknown at the time, but I alerted the readers of this blog that he was a person to watch - and we watched him march right into office! Today was the first time I've seen Deval in person since.
I've seen Barack Obama in person. In 2004 Mitch Ogulewicz and I were attending the Democrat National Convention in Boston when suddenly Obama came running past us and down the street towards the convention hall, apparently late for something. Today it would be impossible for him to just jog down the street like that.
I hope Obama gets the nomination. I think it would be easier for John McCain to beat him than Hillary.
Here's a little video I made scanning the crowd during Patrick's speech.
Tomorrow is the big game, which made me think of this Amherst restaurant The Souper Bowl. I hear that they have the best New England Clam Chowder in town.
They play up the football angle to the max.
GO NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS!!!