Thousands of Minnesotans braved long windy queues on a cold wintry afternoon to hear Senator Barack Obama speak. Obama was in Minneapolis for a campaign stop ahead of February 5th, 2008 (Super Tuesday) when 22 states will hold their primaries. Minnesota will be one of the states caucusing on Tuesday.
The 20,000 capacity Target Center in downtown Minneapolis was filled with enthusiastic Obama supporters.
The Minnesota stop was in between campaign events in Idaho and Missouri. Obama gave a version of his stump speech where he talked about ending the war in Iraq, universal health care, the Bush tax cut, and the environment.
Obama reminded his supporters how many people thought he was not ready to run for the presidency. "I am not running because of some long-held ambition… I am running because of what Dr. [Martin Luther] King called the fierce urgency of now. There is such a thing as being too late and that moment is upon us."
Obama was funny and engaging bringing the audience to their feet several times during his hour long speech.
He received some of the loudest cheers when he invoked the memory of the late Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone.
"Some of you know that when I first got to the United States Senate, I opened up the door of the desk where I was assigned. And it has the names of some of the greater senators who have served. They carved their names, in their own hand, into the desk drawer. One of those names was somebody who shared with me this belief that change doesn’t happen from the top down. A guy named Paul Wellstone. A guy who helped to build a movement here in Minnesota because he believed in you the way I believe in you. And this is part of that movement for change."
Obama has raised $32 million in January from over 170,000 donors. He attributed this to a successful grassroots campaign and a well organized campaign team that understands the utility of the internet.
Mitt Romney, Republican, addressed his supporters on Saturday in Edina. Democrat Hillary Clinton will be in Minnesota on Sunday at Augsburg College in Minneapolis. Ron Paul, Republican, will be at the University of Minnesota on Monday.
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