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Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Grand Rapids Rally: From the Greenville Daily News.

Supporters from Central and Western Michgan were inspired by Obama's rally in Grand Rapids. A working group member and two colleagues took the 1:45 min trip to Grand Rapids to take part in the rally. Of course, they got the treat of witnessing first hand, John Edwards' endorsement. As said by the political scientist in the group, "This is a people's movement." Greenville has a population of about 8000 but they have the Obama spirit. The city had an Electrolux plant closing about 10 years ago.

Barack Rocks Grand Rapids

Rockford woman: 'This is a people's movement'
Elisabeth Waldon
Staff Writer
Thursday, May 15, 2008

ROCKFORD - The crowd at Rosie's Diner shared a common bond Wednesday evening.Almost everyone was wearing a Barack Obama pin.

Diners stopped by Rosie's after Obama's rally at the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids. They included Gowen neighbors Linda Evans and Linda Patrick, Cedar Springs spouses Doug and Val Bickle, and Mount Pleasant co-workers Joyce Baugh, Laura Gonzales and Angela Haddad.

Evans, 66, and Patrick, 59, both sported "Barack To The Future 2008" pins.

Evans, a homemaker, already had seen Obama in Indianapolis the day before Indiana's primary election."It's electrifying," she said. "You get all those people with the same thing on their mind and it's exciting. He's offering something new. I think what he's saying is coming from his heart."

"I heard he was coming and I had to go," said Patrick, a retired secretary. "For me, Obama was like the first step in change. Somebody's got to take the first step. What really hit me was when he talked about the soldiers coming home. He's got it all."

Doug Bickle, 65, is no stranger to witnessing historical events. As a college student, he saw John F. Kennedy at a midnight train stop in Ann Arbor in 1960.

"This is the first time I've truly cared about a president since Kennedy," Bickle said. "He has caught the imagination. This was a defining moment."

The Bickles own the Katie's Closet retail store on 14 Mile Road just down the road from Rosie's Diner. They were prepared to close shop early to go see Obama in Grand Rapids.

"It was awesome," said Val, 47. "I was speechless."

Baugh, Gonzales and Haddad all work at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant. Each woman was wearing at least two Obama pins Wednesday evening.

"This is a people's movement," said Baugh, 48. "We just saw all this incredible energy in that arena and I think it's going to carry over to the election."

"He wants to take the country in a whole different direction," added the 51-year-old Gonzales.

"It was like we were witnessing history being made," said Haddad, also 51.

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