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Obama's neighbors call speech a success

August 29, 2008 3:10:26 PM PDT
Sen. Barack Obama was back on the campaign trail Friday, one day after giving a historic speech at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. The presidential candidate and his running mate, Joe Biden, arrived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and were expected to speak at an event some time Friday.

Thursday night, 84,000 people jammed into Invesco Field in Denver to witness Senator Obama accept the Democratic presidential nomination.

But in the neighborhood Sen. Barack Obama calls home, Chicagoans reacted with enthusiasm Friday to the senator's 44-minute acceptance speech and its historical nature.

"Unbelievable. It was excellent, not just pleasing to hear, but he actually had a plan and a strategy for his presidency, not just a lot of political 'razzle dazzle.' He had a formula. [I] couldn't have been prouder," Hyde Park resident Spencer Gould said.

Obama supporters in the South Side neighborhood were glowing about the speech. Many said they believed the senator from Illinois succeeded especially in reaching out to white, middle class voters, who will likely determine the outcome in key battleground states like Ohio.

"He seemed to be reaching out to his Midwestern and middle class people in general by emphasizing his upbringing," said Bob James.

"You know, with Hillary's great speech, Bill's great speech, Joe's great speech, [it was the] perfect cap to the Democratic convention. He delivered it in the most excellent manner. He said exactly what he needed to say," Althea Conyers said.

"I think he finally answered a lot of questions that people had. I'm very proud," said Holly Travis.

Paul Green, a political science professor at Roosevelt University, was in Denver for Obama's acceptance speech. He said there was no question Obama was one of the country's great orators, and Thursday, Obama delivered.

"It was very exciting, a tad over the top, not only the fireworks, but also the whole set up," said Green. "I thought the most impressive part was not the speech; it was the number of people waiting in long lines to get in and the long lines to get out," he said.

Even many Republicans in Chicago said Obama's speech was impressive. Ken Malak from Glendale Heights said he would voteing for John McCain, but he enjoyed watching Obama Thursday night.

"I think Obama's speech was very impressive, very well delivered and thought out?[but] yes, I am [still supporting McCain]," Malak said.

The most important speech of Obama's life came exactly 45 years after the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. Many African-Americans living in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood said Obama's speech was worthy of that anniversary.

"It was actually fantastic. It brought my whole family to tears. I think everything he said was right on the head. He answered everyone's questions," said Penny Grover.

Latino voters speaking with ABC7 Chicago Friday said they believed Obama's speech was the perfect way to launch the home stretch of his campaign.

"I think he will be the man to fix the economy [and] try to find jobs for people who have been hurting for past eight years. I think that Mr. Obama will put America back on its feet," said Rene Diaz.

Those speaking to ABC7 Chicago Friday who call themselves neighbors of Senator Obama believe his next address will be 1600 Pennsylvania in Washington, DC.


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