Senator Ted Kennedy Campaigns for Barack Obama in Oakland

Oakland, California, February 1, 2008

In the run-up to the "Super Tuesday" Democratic primary vote, Massachusetts Senator Edaward "Ted" Kennedy came to the Beebe Memorial Cathedral in Oakland on February 1 to campaign for his chosen nominee, Senator Barack Obama.

Nothing particularly newsworthy or shocking happened at the event -- so this page is just a short photo essay with my impressions of the day's proceedings.

Here's Kennedy talking to the press, with Barbara Lee, the Congresswoman for Oakland and Berkeley, at his side. I have no idea who the woman on the right is, though she seems to be rather intimately involved in the conversation.

Beebe Memorial Cathedral looks like an unremarkable church from the outside -- but on the inside it's a hidden architectural gem. Too bad it's situated in a part of Oakland with a lot of street crime. The building was filled to capacity for the rally, and several hundred more people were turned away at the door for lack of space. Estimates place the total crowd at over 1,500.

Barbara Lee warmed up the crowd, while Kennedy sat uncomfortably nearby, trying to memorize the notes for his speech. His left pant leg had ridden up, and we got a clear view of his pallid shin.

This is Barbara's home turf, so everyone was used to seeing her. People were waiting for the main attraction.

When Kennedy stepped up to the mike...

...the crowd went wild. He's a major celebrity to the liberal activists who were in attendance.

Kennedy said a bunch of stuff. If you're interested in the content of his speech, this article gives a fair overview of the event and what was said. Sounded like a rehearsed stump speech to me. Starting with a hackneyed "HELLLLOOOOOOOO East Bay!" and then proceeding with the expected campaign oration gimmicks, Kennedy ran through the usual progressive catechism: Obama's a savior, change change change, blah blah blah, Martin Luther King, civil rights, blah blah blah, my famous brothers, healthcare, et cetera, et cetera. We lapped it up, or least did our best to pretend.

Afterwards, there was an absolute scrum to get anywhere near the celebrities.

The only glimpse one could get of Kennedy was through a tangle of arms and cameras.

I extricated myself and went in search of interesting attendees. But most everyone was a either church-going Oaklander in their Sunday best -- or a Berkeley activist in their Friday worst.

This Obama staffer had the whole Dizzy Gillespie/Malcolm X/jazzy beatnik radical hipster thing going on.

And a melancholy Obama-loving monk waited outside for Kennedy to emerge from the church's back door.

But that was it as far as characters go.

A more aggressive crowd gathered at the door itself, thinking they could catch Kennedy on the way to his car, but we were informed that he was going to stay for a while at a reception inside the church and we wouldn't be seeing him any time soon. A couple of impatient reporters made "drinky-drinky" gestures and rolled their eyes.

Speaking of cars: this off-the-lot Ford EDGE SEL was, we were informed, to be Kennedy's getaway vehicle. 16 mpg in the city. What was that you were saying about global warming, Senator Kennedy?

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