Obama Having Fun In North Dakota, Suggest State Can ‘Grow Our Own Fuel’
Grand Forks Herald
Sen. Barack Obama fired up several hundred cheering donors during a half-hour fund-raiser before his speech Friday at the North Dakota Democratic convention in the Alerus Center.
“I am having fun in North Dakota,” he shouted to the crowd of people who paid $100 for the chance to see him up close and maybe shake his hand.
“If he comes close, will you move so I can shake his hand?” Heather O’Keefe asked re-porters standing in front of her.
He arrived at the Alerus Center meeting room at 4:45 p.m., shaking a few hands.
Waiting for him, pressing against the cloth barrier, the crowd shouted “Obama, Obama, can he win. Yes he can, yes, he can.”
Some in the crowd held copies of his book, “The Audacity of Hope,” while other brandished placards, saying “Change you can believe in.” Flashes from cameras popped almost continually.
Giving a slightly shortened version of his standard stump speech, Obama said,“We are at a defining moment in our history.”
Obama was introduced by North Dakota’s three-man Congressional delegation, whom he greeted as friends, Sens. Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan and, as Obama called him, “Ed Pomeroy.” Rep. Earl Pomeroy gave Conrad a sheepish grin at the joke.
Radio talk show star Ed Schultz warmed up the crowd, attacking Sen. John McCain as “a warmonger,” before Obama arrived in the room.
Obama thanked Schultz, saying he was the “voice of progressive radio,” and someone “who knows a little bit about sports.”
Schultz played football at Moorhead State Universityand was a sports broadcaster in Fargo for years.
Obama referred to the 40th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King’s assassination in Memphis, saying King inspired him to run with what King called the “fierce urgency of now.”
“Many of the issues we were talking about 40 years ago we are talking about now.”
He said, like 1968, America is again at war with an economy “in a shambles,” and a growing federal deficit, and wages that don’t keep pace with inflation.
He promised change if he’s elected president. “We can’t afford to wait,” he said.
He promised to end the war in Iraq in 2009, provide tuition credit for every college student and to address global warming as president.
“Climate change...here in North Dakota,you’re not sure how you feel about that,” drawing laughs.
“We can grow our own fuel here in North Dakota,” he said, mentioning “solar, wind and biodiesel.”