Tag Archive: Yale on the Trail: Chicago

  1. Merchandise for change

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    By Margy Slattery

    CHICAGO, 2:00 a.m. — Over the course of the presidential campaign, the face president-elect Barack Obama has become something of a graphic-design fetish, gracing posters, T-shirts and buttons, among other paraphernalia.

    Tuesday night the senator’s signature visage could be found on nearly every visitor at his Grant Park election rally.

    The campaign’s iconic sunrise within an “O” was a common design on shirts, hats, shoes and buttons. “Barack your world,” some shirts said, or “Mama for Obama.” Another depicted the senator as Superman, his shirt parted to reveal not an “S” but an “O.”

    Hours before Obama’s victory, it was clear from shirts for sale on the sidewalk that confidence in Obama was high.

    “Commander in chief,” one shirt featuring Obama’s face said. Another depicted the front page of the Chicago Tribune announcing news of Obama’s win.

    “Listen,” an Obama keychain vendor shouted to potential customers early in the night. “Wake up tomorrow and tell your friends you got the keys to the White House.”

  2. Dressed for a home run

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    By Isaac Arnsdorf

    CHICAGO, 7:39 p.m. — There’s enough paraphernalia and street peddlers for a ballgame. As the crowds stream toward Grant Park, they have a wide selection of Obama shirts, buttons and keychains. And though the first polls have barely closed, the merchandisers have already picked the winner.

    It is Chicago after all, and a Connie’s truck is unloading deep dish pizza by the stack. A few hundred thousand people gotta eat!

    The ages for the general public are at least an hour from opening, but people are already massing north of the ticketed event. Police have said they may have to restrict access depending on the numbers.

    Even the skyline wants in on the fun. Arrayed around Grant Park, one skyscraper’s lights spell “USA,” and the spires of the Sears Tower are red, white and blue.

    7:32 p.m. — Blitzer announced Obama with an early big lead in Florida. Crowd goes wild!

    8:01 p.m. — Blitzer calls CT for Obama. No surprises, but the crowd goes wild.

    8:15 p.m. — They’re playing CNN on the jumbotron here, and the crowd is playing this game where they try to drown out CNN’s reporter every time they put her on.

    Obama’s podium is flanked with plexi-glass to protect him. Security is very tight here — stricter than airports.

    9:01 p.m. — Obama is more than half-way there, but nothing really unexpected yet.

    9:29 p.m. — The people keep swarming in, like a tidal wave every time they open a gate. There are 75,000 who have tickets, and hundreds of thousands more in the north end of the park watching a telecast.

  3. Obama land: “Not every vote is Obama’s”

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    By Isaac Arnsdorf

    CHICAGO, 5:36 p.m. – Even in Obama’s state, in Obama’s city, in Obama’s neighborhood, in Obama’s polling precinct, not every vote is Obama’s.

    Tiffany Grimes said, as an African-American native of Chicago’s South Side, she’s inspired that a black man could come so close to the presidency.

    “It means a lot to my race to see how far we’ve come,” she said.

    But that wasn’t enough to make her vote for him.

    While her friends and family are all rooting for Obama, Grimes said she and her husband ultimately decided his platform just didn’t consist with their beliefs.

    She said so quietly, not wanting to be overheard ’round these parts.

  4. Hair statements

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    By Martine Powers


    CHICAGO, 5:00 p.m. – 17-year-olds Logan Spears and Miguel Pazoz from West Virginia visited Barack Obama’s former barbershop to have his name shaved into the backs of their heads. Then, they ate in Valois’, Obama’s favorite diner during his years in Hyde Park. Next, they plan on tracking down sold-out tickets to tonight’s Obama rally in Grant Park.

  5. Election Day, more like “Obama Day” in Hyde Park

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    By Martine Powers

    CHICAGO, 4:40 p.m. – According to 61-year-old Roilynn Brown, today is Obama day.

    “Obama day! Obama day!” Brown chants to passersby on 53rd street in South Side neighborhood Hyde Park while handing out copies of the Hyde Park/Bronzeville community newspaper. “Here, take your newsletter.”

    Brown stands outside of a Dunkin Donuts, opening the glass door for women entering or exiting the donut shop and encouraging people to vote. For Obama.

    “We’re definitely confident,” Brown said. “All we have to encourage us is faith and hope, and that’s what this whole campaign is about. We hope that tomorrow is going to be better than today.”

    At least in Hyde Park, everybody who is anybody is voting for Obama, Brown said. The Illinois senator shares their background and their sense of community, he said.

    “Obama day!” Brown shouts to three men as they amble down the street. The guys are black and they look about 20 years old; they wear oversized jeans and the hoods of their sweaters are pulled over their heads, even though it is 70 degrees outside.

    “McCain day!” one of the pack yells back at Brown. He pauses for a second, then laughs and yells out, “Psych!”

    “Boy, don’t even play like that,” one of his friends retorts. “You’ll get your ass shot if you say that out here.”

  6. Obama returns home to cast his vote

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    By Isaac Arnsdorf

    CHICAGO, 11:38 a.m. — Here in Hyde Park, the leafy South Side neighborhood where Barack Obama made his home and launched his political career, his neighbors say they remember voting for him when he was their state senator. But, they said, they never would have predicted that they might some day vote for him for president.

    Obama himself returned to his polling place at Shoesmith Elementary to cast his own ballot around 7:30 this morning.

    John Hall, who lives across the street, said he had never seen his precint so crowded. In past elections, you could walk right in but today the line stretched around the block.

    But this is no ordinary election for the residents of Hyde Park, who have known Obama as a neighbor, a state senator, a U.S. Senator, and now a presidential candidate.