Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The O-Man Storm Blows Into Tampa

The travelling revival hit town today when the Barack Obama Tour paid a visit to the local hockey arena that's named after the newspaper across The Bay.

Obama dazzled the crowd. It was a novelty to hear a guy who could be president of the United States talk so well when you consider the current Commander-in-Chief can hardly utter a grammatically-correct sentence.

The crowd was frenzied. And in contrast to what some of the media was saying, the joint was not completely filled. The arena's bottom bowl and the suite level were indeed packed, but the upper level was mostly empty.

For a region that's a little behind the times and just a tad conservative, it was fun to see the charismatic O-Train Express zoom into town and captivate the masses. It was the stuff of an evangelical preacher mesmerizing a crowd that chanted, waved signs and was completely captivated.

I was there with fellow Seminole Heights Bicycle Club member Steve Swiger. We biked to the Forum and joined the 15,000 or so folks.

As you can see, the O-Man was in the house.

Congressman Robert Wexler from Boca Raton and our own Congresswoman from Tampa -- Kathy Castor -- it seemed like yesterday when she was battling Ronda Storms on the Hillsborough County Commission -- introduced the O-Man.

Mayor Pam helped pump up the crowd. She biked with the Seminole Heights Bicycle Club and promised to stripe a bike lane on Platt Street.

Concessions stands were ringing up sales.

The media was interviewing anything that was moving.

This fella won the "Mr. Dapper" award.

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