Below is some video of an enthusiastic crowd in downtown Salem today, waiting to snap up tickets to Barack Obama's appearance in our normally sleepy city on Friday.
The Coffee House Café must have done some bang-up business. Proving that laid-back counter culture types also can have business sense, a nicely tattooed employee worked the line (which stretched most of the way down the block).
As you'll see, I was desperate to cover up the corporate latte that I'd just bought at a nearby Starbucks. That's where I heard about the ticket giveaway, which led me to head down the street, venti latte in hand.
I enjoyed being part of the Obama excitement. I'd wondered about how it was possible for a presidential candidate to fill up a large auditorium with thousands of supporters on short notice.
With Obama – and the electronic age – it isn't difficult. His campaign put up an online ticket issuing site, but the (accurate) word on the street was that it'd been closed. That made those of us waiting in line feel better about our chance to score the two tickets each person could get.
A guy next to me was phoning friend after friend, telling them to get their butts downtown if they wanted Obama tickets. I could see people hurrying down the sidewalk, having heard about the Coffee House Café ticket opportunity.
I chatted briefly with a reporter from the Statesman Journal who I knew. He's covered local politics for many years, and said that this was the first time a viable presidential candidate had come to town.
Mostly they skip Oregon, our May primary usually being irrelevant, delegate-wise. But this year is different. Obama's coming to town.
And I've got tickets. It's been a long time, like maybe never, since I've been enthused enough about a candidate to spend a couple of hours in the Salem Armory at a campaign rally.
But this election is different. Obama's coming to town.