Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« Sweeney Todd at Harvard Exit L... | Today The Stranger Suggests »

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Barack Obama’s Stop in Seattle (w/ Audio)

posted by on December 12 at 10:15 AM

Posted late last night and moved up to this morning.


More on this tomorrow later today, on Slog and Lineout, but for now: Barack Obama’s stop at Showbox SoDo tonight last night was an impressive show of Seattle strength for a candidate who’s been surging in a number of states this month.

The place was packed, and organizers said 1,000 tickets had been sold, with adults paying $100 and students paying $35. Add in two fundraisers earlier in the evening that were closed to the press and that’s probably a pretty good haul for a man who’s already raised far more money than any other presidential candidate in Washington State this year.

Since I was just in Iowa watching Obama work a crowd there, I was interested to see whether his approach, and the crowd reaction, would be any different here in Seattle. More on that tomorrow later today, but I’ll say one thing right now that Seattleites may not like to hear: The crowd in Des Moines, Iowa—Des Moines, Iowa—was way, way more diverse than the crowd at the Showbox.


Don’t believe me? Think that zoomed-in picture is lying? How about this:


If you’d like to hear audio of last night’s speech, click here. Warning: If you’ve heard Obama’s stump speech in the last few months it will sound very familiar. But if you haven’t, or if you just like hearing him say the word “Seattle” a lot, then check it out.

RSS icon Comments


Wow that picture of all the whities is shocking especially when the even is south of Downtown. jeez.

Posted by vooodooo84 | December 12, 2007 12:58 AM

I was at the Pier 66 fund raising event at 6:30pm. I'm black and I was more surprised to see more blacks at that event than what you probably saw at the Showbox. The crowd was probably 150-200 people. I was able to "hug the rope" a few minutes before he came out and get some close up photos, a hand shake, and say a few words to him. If you guys want some photos, I can post them somewhere or e-mail them to you.

Posted by apres_moi | December 12, 2007 1:04 AM

@2: Sure, post them in our Stranger Flickr pool and let me know they're there. Or email me some jpegs. My address is easy find. Thanks!

Posted by Eli Sanders | December 12, 2007 1:26 AM

No new ground broken in his speech tonight, but Obama was confident, charming, and sure in his words. The turn-out at Showbox Sodo was impressive, particularly given the high ticket price and relatively late-in-the-game announcement of the event.

I'm always particularly inspired by the conversations that take place after the big speech at events like this. Tonight was no different. It is good to feel optimistic about politics, even if, at the end of the day, it is just a race between the lesser of evils.

And, god damn, there was a lot of security.

Posted by kerri harrop | December 12, 2007 2:23 AM

Is Obama this generation's FDR? 'Cause that is what we desperately need right now....

Posted by Just Me | December 12, 2007 4:27 AM


Why can't Obama be President?

Posted by Peter | December 12, 2007 7:30 AM

Aside from the obvious "Scandinavians for Obama" vibe those pics provide, I wonder WHY the crowd was so white?

* Poor GOTV among blacks/minorities by Team Obama?
* The venue ("white folks' place")?
* Blacks support Hillary?
* NW White Guilt/Lib Enchantment for the Underdog?

I honestly would be interested to know -- anyone have something remotely fact-based to explain this?

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | December 12, 2007 8:00 AM

There just aren't a lot of middle-class African-Americans in Seattle? That's pretty well-known. (Almost Live used to do funny bits about that back in the early '90s.)

Also, isn't Iowa next to Illinois, which has a large African-American population? Maybe they came by. I dunno.

According to the State Data Center of Iowa, there are only 67,000 African-Americans in the state, which has about 3 million people. (2007 numbers) In Washington, there are 202,286 out of 4 million. (2005 numbers)


Posted by la | December 12, 2007 8:14 AM

Also, isn't Iowa next to Illinois, which has a large African-American population? Maybe they came by. I dunno.

If anyone was coming from Illinois, they would've gone to the event in Cedar Rapids.

Posted by Aexia | December 12, 2007 8:29 AM

why is the word "diversity" always used as code for "black people." Does this mean a crowd comprised of whites and asians does not count as diverse?

Posted by doink | December 12, 2007 8:33 AM

Maybe the $100 price tag had something to do with it. Maybe the fact that we won't be doing anything for months keeps less insane people anyway from these events. If the room was 80% black what would your comment be then? Why won't white Seattle support a black?

Posted by whatever | December 12, 2007 8:41 AM

Another Inane Eli Sanders Presidential Politics Post. Ugh.

Figured out who Greg Palast is yet?

Posted by DOUG. | December 12, 2007 9:03 AM

Re: percentage of white vs. blacks in the audience.

First, the event in Iowa was free. It was a pep rally, a get out the vote rally, not a fundraiser. And it had Oprah. And although you don't mention it in your article, other press has said that people traveled from as far away as Florida to attend the Oprah/Obama show. A lot of the out-of-staters were black.

The Seattle stop was a fundraiser. The $100 ticket price probably stopped a lot of black people from coming. We may have a higher percentage of blacks in Seattle than in Des Moines, but they aren't necessarily any more able to afford the $100 ticket.

Posted by SDA in SEA | December 12, 2007 9:17 AM

Whitey has $100, film at eleven.

Posted by Greg | December 12, 2007 9:21 AM

Bareback Osama- I taste VOMIT!!!!

Bleachegh(spewing chunks)!!!

Posted by zdfkjhga;fjng | December 12, 2007 10:04 AM

@ 12 (DOUG) -- Why the slam on Eli? Did he pee in your cornflakes?

I take issue with your terms "another" and "inane." Let's take them one at a time, shall we:

ANOTHER -- This bespeaks the fact that Eli has posted regularly on the topic. How is this bad? Personally, I appreciate the fact that someone with Eli's intelligence and wit has elected (pun!!!) to cover the presidential horse race. So the fact that we see regular posts from Eli is no cause for alarm -- please sit back and take a few deep breaths. Which brings us to...

INANE -- Let's see...a link to the speech; insights into context of other Obama events in other locales; a focus on the dynamics of diversity within the Obama movement...what's inane about this? I see more pat cliches and lazy intellectual postulations in the main stream press -- I'm glad to have Eli, Josh and others that give the insights I cannot get anywhere else.

So unless you're able and willing to haul your keyster around the cornfields of Iowa -- let alone the backwaters of our own state -- give Eli a break and offer your views instead of your cheap insults.


Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | December 12, 2007 10:15 AM

I guarentee you that if Bareback O gets the Democrat nomination I'm voting REPUBLICAN- and I am a Democrat. I also predict that if BAREBACK O wins the Democratic nomination it will be another four years of Republicans in the white house... Mark my words Nig-Nog lovers- choose your course wisely.

Posted by IMAdrgQ | December 12, 2007 10:15 AM

@ 17 -- I'm telling mom!!!

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | December 12, 2007 10:18 AM

@17: Thanks for the insight, you racist piece of shit.

Posted by Greg | December 12, 2007 10:18 AM

Obama aint gonna win because the White South will never vote for him and the Clintons own Cali and NY.

Posted by Shaniqua Jackson | December 12, 2007 10:20 AM

My wife and I went last night and both of us were lucky enough to shake hands with Barack Obama and have a up front spot to watch.

I think the room reflected the Seattle population of folks that are comfortable with the Internet as a political communication tool.

We found out about this event via the Barack Obama web site and have been keeping on top of campaign events that way. The $100 price tag and way it was communicated are what I think contributed to the audience "diversity".

The event at Bell Harbor was not on the web site and, from what I can tell, not open to the public. I am guessing that however invitees were selected/communicated with for that event is what deteremined the makup of the folks attending.

Posted by Patrick | December 12, 2007 10:30 AM
22 Ron Sims. No Rev. McKinney. No Eric Pettigrew. No James Kelley. No Norm Rice. No John Lovick. No Dawn Mason. No Richard McGiver. No attempt to communicate through Black churches.

Obama is very upscale and Harvard-y, is he not?

Posted by unPC | December 12, 2007 11:15 AM

#13 is right. Eli's flip post about photos "lying" seems irresponsible and lazy. The events were different, it's not news that Seattle doesn't have a lot of middle-class blacks, and there's no proof that they would be upset to hear that.

If it makes anyone feel better since we Seattlelites are apparently upset, there was a huge contigent of African-American leadership at Obama's appearance at Benaroya Hall last year. Longtime local African-American leader Tony Orange was inciting the crowd to chant for his presidency, in which the mixed crowd happily complied.

Posted by la | December 12, 2007 11:25 AM

unPC - Norm Rice was there and did the Intro.

Posted by Patrick | December 12, 2007 11:27 AM

#14 for the win

Posted by Jake | December 12, 2007 11:32 AM

i find all the urban elitist hand-wringing about the alleged lack of "diversity" [apparently the current PC term for "black people"] in the state of iowa extremely entertaining. this has been a hot back burner topic in the comments section for the past couple months. more, please.

Posted by brandon | December 12, 2007 11:48 AM

These comment threads are almost always so disheartening. Today is no exception to that rule.

Eli, thanks for posting the audio link.

Posted by kerri harrop | December 12, 2007 11:52 AM

Looked pretty diverse to me. Considering our population and the location of the event.

Who cares what Iowa looks like ... I don't.

You guys are so 20th century in your thining

Posted by Will in Seattle | December 12, 2007 12:04 PM

What the fuck is a "nig-nog"?

Never mind, I think I'd rather remain ignorant of its etymology.

Posted by laterite | December 12, 2007 12:24 PM

29 - i think it's some sort of holiday-related beverage.

Posted by brandon | December 12, 2007 12:31 PM

It's racist and stupid. That's all you need to know. And, uh, it should be removed.

Posted by Mr. Poe | December 12, 2007 12:41 PM

Brandon @26, please try to read. The subject of any perceived "handwringing" in this thread is the lack of diversity at the SEATTLE event, not in Iowa. People are saying that the Obama event in Iowa was MORE diverse than the one in Seattle.

The rest of your comment makes no sense except as a contrived excuse to attempt to bait people about "diversity" -- was that you @10, too?

Posted by David | December 12, 2007 12:59 PM

Maybe the lack of diversity also had something to do with the band.

Posted by Mike of Renton | December 12, 2007 1:21 PM

no, david, just me @ 26 and 30.

my point is that there appears to be a few tacit assumptions running through a lot of the comments, in this thread and elsewhere, re: iowa and giving "rural white people" the first crack at deciding the candidates:

1] the political interests of non-rural and/or non-white people are more important
2] the political interests of rural white people are drastically different than anyone else’s
3] the only people in iowa are rural white people
and, implicitly...
4] rural white people are dumb

i grew up in a very rural, very white area, and i can assure you - none of these suppositions are necessarily true.

i was responding more directly to eli's comment about how "seattlites may not want to hear this," and other comments i've read on slog in the past few months that i find rather ignorant. so if it appears i'm coming from left field with this, well, i guess i kinda am.

personally, i find it rather disheartening that in 2007, people still think "diversity" is something you can glean from a photograph. or that the "flyover states" are an oasis of dumb, ambiguously white people, and seeing such photographs could be some sort of watershed moment where everyone's impression of middle america suddenly changes.

sorry, not trying to bait anyone. just calling it as i see it. again, not just from this thread, but a general impression i've gotten over the past few months. when people feel compelled to cite census data, or come up with explanations as to why there weren't as many black people at the seattle event as there could have been, in a word: disheartening. not sure if this is what kerri harrop had in mind, but the word sums up my impression.

Posted by brandon | December 12, 2007 1:28 PM

it's just the Stranger staff isn't that diverse, brandon, so they're touchy about this.

Posted by Will in Seattle | December 12, 2007 2:35 PM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 14 days old).