Jefferson-Jackson Democratic Party Dinner at Dorton Arena

Last night Sarah and I attended the Jefferson-Jackson dinner of the Democratic party of North Carolina at Dorton Arena at the NC State Fairgrounds in Raleigh, NC.

The crowd was very lively but the competition between candidates for the party nomination was still polite. Both candidates were smart to include their support for the other candidate were they to win the nomination and confirm that they were sure the other would do the same for them.

That actually worked with the crowd pretty well which surprised me. I guess as a crowd member I'm a bit more competitive than the rest. Although Sarah and I were attending on tickets provided by the Obama campaign we remained unbranded and didn't hold up a sign, for several reasons. Here are a few more photos of the Jefferson-Jackson Democratic Party Dinner.

Hillary gave a very Clinton-like speech, I immediately recognized the style. I saw Bill Clinton speak while on the campaign trail for President in 1992 in Fayetteville, Arkansas where I lived at the time. I was 11 years old and I remember the only glimpse I got of him in person which required a high in-place jump at the back row of the crowd.

There must have been 15,000 people on the main lawn of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville at that time. The state was strongly behind him despite the promise not to seek the Presidency that he made while running for the Governorship just a few years before. Surprising to me Hillary seemed to talk more about empowering people and ensuring equality than Obama, specific talking points were the minority of her content. I guess we are still in the primaries.

Obama was classically charismatic and wasted no time in engaging the crowd in a series of rolling cheers in response to his hard hitting style. It's fascinating to see someone so young on the podium talking about taking the position of President. His speech roared to start and then quieted for about 15 minutes as he went through a laundry-list of issues and the ways they affect average Americans.

The closing involved a number of more specific actions and initiatives he would take as President and another direct but polite attack on Hillary's plan to make the Oil companies pay the gas tax this summer. He made a great and comical point that temporary gas tax relief won't sound like such a great idea when gas is ten bucks a gallon. The crowd loved it.

Although, in concept this flies a bit in the face of his plan to provide a small cash rebate to all Americans when he becomes President. In my opinion politicians need to cut the crap on these temporary reliefs and cash bonuses and figure out real plans that provide relief over the long term while ensuring stability so that emergency relief isn't needed. But I digress.

The event was well attended and expectedly ran way over schedule. I don't think we left the arena until around 11PM. It was an exciting night and satisfied my need to see the democratic candidates speak in-person before making any decisions. If you're interested which candidate I'm leaning toward now you'll have to ask me in person.

The post above was made on 5/3/2008. It's now 6/4/2008 and Obama has received enough delegates to claim the nomination for the Democratic party. The Wall Street Journal had a great article today graphing both candidates' pledged delegates and superdelegates and their rank in national polls from October 2007 through today.

It's really interesting to see that the day I made this post was one of three times during the entire campaign in which the two candidates were tied in national polls and was also the single point at which Obama's superdelegate count exceeded Clintons... she never regained that lead.