By 7:30am the line stretched for a mile or two, out of the Ed Smith stadium parking lot, down the street, around the corner, down the next street, across it, winding through the alternate parking, around another corner and down the block.
Barack Obama came on stage and spoke for about an hour. He described John McCain as a passenger in the George W. Bush car, waiting eagerly to take the wheel and continue down the road. Most of his talk focused on his economic policy and the dire straights being faced by Florida residents. He spoke about complacency and how hard we should all work until this thing is done. He also took a shot at the politics of destruction of the McCain campaign.
"I have two words for you Sarasota. Five Days!
"In five days, you can put an end to the politics that would divide a nation just to win an election, that tries to pit region against region, city against town, Republican against Democrat, that asks us to fear at a time when what we really need is hope.
"In five days, at this defining moment in history, you can give this country the change we need."
It was a great rally handled without a single noticeable flaw. Everyone got in, right on time. Water was provided (though I did purloin a cooler just for our section - shhhh!), the volunteers were everywhere and the campaign staff exhibited the now-typical tightly organized team that we have all come to know and love. Volunteer teams gathered and shared experience and suggestions for better process to share with the staffers, even with only five days left. Hundreds of new volunteers were signed up to canvas non-stop through Tuesday, not a spot of complacency was to be seen.
A wonderful, high-energy, positive and motivational day. As Dan the Staffer said during rally prep last night, if Sarasota goes for Obama, Florida goes for Obama. If Florida goes for Obama, the White House will be in Democratic hands.
Now, for a few days of canvassing and taking people to the polls to make that happen.