It’s obvious that I’m a bad host of ofadam. Not only do I disappear for weeks at a time, I leave you with scattered pieces of material that most people would use to wipe their snotty noses with and then throw into the trash.
So I was looking through the tiny scraps of paper that accumulate in my pockets and realized that I never told you about Obama. You’ve heard of him, yes, but you’ve never met him. And now I can say that I saw him with my own eyes.
On a subzero February morning, I traveled to the capital city of Springfield, Illinois at 4:30 a.m. and joined a mob. A media mob 500 members strong. Obama pre-announced that he’d announce his candidacy for President of the USA outside the Old State Capitol building, a place where a lanky Abraham Lincoln once gave his famous “a house divided can not stand” speech. Finally, after years of non-committence and hedging, he was ready to make everything formal. And a massive media presence descended upon Illinois, from as far away as Japan and Australia, filling three enormous risers by 5 a.m. that morning. I immediately realized that this would be the biggest event I’d ever cover.
With the announcement to take place at 10 a.m., there was much waiting to be done. I settled into a tiny spot on a riser, visited with our sister photographers at the Springfield Journal-Register and vainly tried to keep my fingers and toes from dying. I walked around shooting features of Obama fans, many traveling from the edges of the United States just to glimpse the man.
He walked out, he kissed babies, he spoke and he waved goodbye. And here is the proof.
EXTRA: “Obama begins “a great journey” audio slideshow