Our friend Joe, with Joe's Grilled Gourmet Dogs has been serving dogs in front of Qwest since it was the Kingdome. He told me this evening that he's never sold as many veggie dogs as the day Obama appeared at Qwest's Event Center last summer. That's right, Obama moves more veggie dogs that the Rolling Stones, Kenny Chesney, and Shawn Alexander. Speaking of dogs, Ms. Curl and I may or may not have been drinking at Hooverville across the street before we got in. Either way, their special of the day was "Barack's Favorite Chili Dog."
Photos by Chris Kornelis. Click here to watch an audio slideshow of the event.
Much has changed in the six months since Barack Obama was last in Seattle. He's got a lead in Iowa. He's got Oprah on the stump. He's got momentum. And though he hasn't lost his authenticity, Obama was sharper, funnier and a little self deprecating this time around. There was the unfortunate relative reference: "This time my cousin Dick Cheney won't be on the ballot. That was so embarrassing," he told the crowd at the crowded rock venue. "Everybody's got a black sheep in the family. Everybody's got a crazy uncle in the attic."
Obama also got some laughs with this: "I know folks are rifling through my kindergarten papers. ...I experimented with coloring outside the lines, and pulling at pig tails. ...I liked it."
That wasn't the only jab he got in on his Democratic rival. Obama took it to Hillary Clinton every chance he got: "If we're going to seize the moment, the same old Washington textbook campaigns just won't do. ...Triangulating, poll-testing, not answering questions just won't do."
Obama also mentioned other differences with the "other" Democrat like the fact that he didn't vote for "saber-rattling" against Iran and the notion that he's willing to talk with enemies of state. "Strong countries and strong presidents talk to their adversaries and try to resolve differences," he said.
He also challenged president Bush: "No wonder you're cynical," Obama told the mostly 30- and 40-somethings. "We've got a president who couldn't lead the half of the country who voted for him. The only mission we've accomplished is using fear and falsehood to take us into a war that never should've been waged."
Like before, there still wasn't much substance to the speech. Obama mentioned his health care plan, a proposal to give all Americans the same quality of coverage he gets as a member of Congress. And there were the oblique and obligatory references to climate change, HIV in Africa, genocide in Darfur.
But maybe the masses don't need the detail. At least not for now. Obama's riding his upset-the-coronation train right through Iowa, right on cue, and (predictably) on the coattails of the mainstream media.
Green or not and vague at best, he is the "change" candidate. And he's starting to convince people of it. Obama had a lot of one-liners this brisk December night, but he also had some good advice. None better than this: "If we are serious about winning this election, we can't live in fear of losing it."
Obama the Rock Star
Curl and Kornelis here, warming it up at Showbox SODO for the hottest ticket in town tonight, Mr. Obama. It's going to be awhile before he starts, so we thought we'd give those of you not willing to cough up $100 a peak at hubbub surrounding the Democratic frontrunner in Iowa.