Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

A headline that made time stand still

November 5, 2008
Members of The Chieftain news staff gather around television sets as the presidential race is called for Barack Obama.

Members of The Chieftain news staff gather around televisions as the presidential race is called for Barack Obama.

On my way to work on Election Night coverage for The Pueblo Chieftain, I had an errand to run, and then impulsively made a side trip through the intersection of Pueblo’s Union Avenue and D Street, where I had seen Barack Obama speak just three days before.

There’s always a buzz around a newsroom on Election Night, but this one seemed different for so many reasons. The televisions were tuned to various cable news networks and editors were scanning Internet news outlets trying to get the latest word on what was happening. This is newspaper work in the electronic age.

The dictionary defines anachronism is as a chronological discrepancy. And so it seemed strange when a major news network called the presidential race for Obama, and everyone in the newsroom gathered around the TV to see history being made — and what we would be putting into print for people to read the next morning. As newspapers have done through the decades, we would be recording history in print, and believe me it is hard work. The irony is most readers already would know most of the election outcomes before our press would even run.

Still, there’s something exciting about having even a tiny role in recording such a momentous event. Later that evening, as I held a final proof of page 1A in my hands with the huge headline that screamed “OBAMA WINS” I had the powerful feeling of being precisely at a moment in time when everything was standing still — marking the ending and the beginning of so many things.

Standing on my toes to see Barack

November 2, 2008

For about 35 minutes on Saturday, I was 6 feet 2 inches tall. Or maybe 6’1”. That’s because I was standing on my toes among 16,000 cheering people trying to get a glimpse of Sen. Barack Obama.

I had never seen a presidential candidate or president. So Obama’s second visit to nearby Pueblo was difficult to pass up. On his first visit he spoke at the Colorado State Fairgrounds and I was the night city editor at The Pueblo Chieftain that evening so I didn’t get to go.

This time around, Obama was set to speak in the Union Avenue district. After much waffling, I jumped in the car, drove 50 miles, and met my Westcliffe friend Mick and his buddy Warren at the security entrance about a block from the stage. We moseyed through the crowd to get as close as we could. It seemed like we would have a decent view from less than a block away.

I was unprepared for what happened when Michelle Obama took the stage for her introductory speech. Suddenly everyone was standing on their toes. A great number were holding digital cameras or signs up over their heads, and many were hoisting children high to see.

I shifted from side to side and stood on my toes to get a glimpse. And then Barack took the stage. Though he was easy to hear via the loudspeakers, I could not find him on the stage through the arms, cameras and piggy-backed kids.

While struggling to get a glimpse, I was struck by the words. The guy was serious and humorous at the same time. He spoke on very complicated topics using the words of an ordinary person. And there was a genuine quality about his speech.

I can stand on my toes for a long time. One by one the people grew tired, and suddenly there he was. It was not an up-close view, but it was Barack Obama, in person. I was standing tall and while listening to what he had to say I had the feeling I had caught a glimpse of both a presidential candidate and a president.

Barack Obama for president

October 29, 2008

It occurred to me today that the chance for Hardscrabble Times to join the rest of the Republican-owned mainstream media in making a presidential endorsement was slipping away, what with early voting, mail-in ballots and all. Regardless of when or how you choose to vote, I urge you to vote for Barack Obama.

The central issue of this election is the economy. Much has been made by Obama’s opponents about “redistributing the wealth.” This is something these plutocrats disguised as Republicans actually know something about. For the last eight years they’ve been redistributing the wealth of the middle class to oil companies, war-profiteers, the disease-care (some call it health-care) industry, insurance companies, Wall Street fat cats and just about every other corporate concern that I could name.

Now they want to call it “socialism” when someone comes up with a better idea — like giving the middle class a tax break and making corporations pay their fair share.

Speaking personally, for the last eight years I have had to work harder for relatively less money than at any other time in my adult life. At one point during this dismal period I actually made a fair amount of money by my standards working day and night the equivalent of three part-time jobs as a writer, editor and ranch manager. But all that hard-earned income disappeared in a wave of higher costs of living, medical and special needs expenses for my son, increasing debt and, yes, higher taxes.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. This country needs something different when it comes to the economy. Barack Obama likewise offers the best hope for re-establishing our credibility in the foreign policy arena, and the best plans for addressing energy independence, education, health care and every other major issue facing this country. If you have not already voted for him, Hardscrabble Times urges you to do so.

Richardson stumps for Obama at Chile Fest

September 20, 2008
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson stumps for Barack Obama during the Pueblo Chile and Frijoles Festival on Saturday (Photo by Hal Walter).

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson stumps for Barack Obama during the Pueblo Chile and Frijoles Festival on Saturday (Photo by Hal Walter).

We stopped by Pueblo’s Chile and Frijoles Festival today for a green chile burger at the Hopscotch Bakery, where co-owner Richard Warner was grilling beef out in the middle of Union Avenue. We walked down B Street to the Union Depot seeking a park bench, and found people scurrying about a stage and podium. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson was due to speak in a few minutes. He was on a Colorado tour stumping for Barack Obama, who also was in Pueblo earlier in the week. Soon Pueblo Chieftain co-workers Peter Roper and Mike Sweeney arrived to cover the event. I happened to have my camera and was able to get some decent photographs of Richardson, who gave a resounding endorsement of Sen. Obama, and also made the case that the country needs a new direction after the past eight years. He encouraged everyone attending to get 25 people out to vote, which is one of the reasons I am posting this on Hardscrabble Times. I encourage everyone reading this to get out and vote, and to vote early if possible.