The noise was nearly deafening as about 17,000 people rallied to support Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., on Wednesday at Reunion Arena in Dallas.
Obama said the country is at a defining moment in history for politics and referenced Martin Luther King Jr. early in his speech.
“I am running because of what Dr. King called the ‘fierce urgency of now,'” Obama said.
Cathi Hoag, a graduate student and outreach coordinator for TCU Students for Barack Obama, said about 30 students went to the rally representing TCU’s group.
She said Obama draws in young people to his campaign because of his message of change and his magnetic personality that other presidential hopefuls lack.
“It’s a huge representation for our generation to be a part of this,” said Dani Folks, a junior social work and anthropology major. “We can be the generation that matters.”
Obama said it’s time for Texas to vote blue. He’s betting on American people of all ages and walks of life to make a choice by electing a president who could change the nation, he said.
“I’m here to report that my bet has paid off and the American people have been vindicated,” Obama said.
Sights and sounds from the rally
Click the play button (above) to watch the show.
Gregg Cantrell, a professor of history at TCU, said he supports Obama because the nation is at a point in history where Obama can inspire people in a way the public craves.
“He wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth,” Cantrell said. “What he has done in his life, he has done on his own.”
Cantrell, who holds the Lowe Chair in Texas history, said the importance of the youth vote during this election is palpable.
The indications from the primaries so far show there has been a massive youth vote turnout. The American people and its youth seem to think Obama is the most poised of the candidates to be the agent of change supporters desire, Cantrell said.
Obama said the changes he hopes to implement, such as creating a stronger education system by making college affordable, restoring the economy by cutting taxes and ending the war in Iraq, will challenge the status quo and get results the American people want.
Video from the rally
Throughout his speech, the crowd erupted in rock concert-like cheers, while holding up signs that read “hope” or “a change we can believe in” that were distributed by the campaign staff.
When former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk spoke before Obama stepped onstage, he quickly responded to the roar of the crowd.
“If we had been this loud, maybe the Mavericks would have beaten the Warriors the other night,” he said. “But we’re going to bring this one home.”
Also speaking was NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith, who elicited cheers from the crowd when he spoke before Obama. He said he believes everyone in support of Obama’s campaign is on the right team.
Obama urged supporters to vote as soon as possible, before the scheduled Texas primary March 4.
“If we win Texas,” he said. “We will win the nomination and will win this country. We will change America.”
The next rally for Obama will be 10:30 a.m. Thursday in San Marcos, followed by a debate against Hillary Clinton scheduled to take place that night at the University of Texas in Austin.