NEW YORK (AP) - Barack Obama is well known for his ability to
draw large crowds, but 75,000 in Portland, Oregon?
The mass of people who converged on a Willamette River park on
Sunday was the largest rally to date for the Democratic
presidential hopeful. Organizers credited the sunny, spring day and
enthusiasm for Obama in the well-educated, largely liberal city as
key factors helping drive turnout.
But the Illinois senator already has seen plenty of eye-popping
Thirty-five thousand crammed into Independence Park in
Philadelphia last month, and 30,000 filled a Columbia, South
Carolina, arena in December to cheer him at a rally with Oprah
Winfrey. His events often dwarf Hillary Rodham Clinton's, even
though her crowds are far larger than most political candidates
Praised for its attention to the mechanics of grass-roots
organizing, Obama's campaign has taken the art of crowd building to
an unprecedented level -- using networking tools and old-fashioned
word of mouth to drive turnout, which aids fundraising and
Josh Earnest -- who served as Obama's communications director in
Iowa and Texas -- recalled how the campaign had just 48 hours to
draw people to a rally outside the Texas state Capitol in Austin.
In the end, some 20,000 people came out for the rally.