Barack Obama‘s speech in Seattle today made this 26-year-old feel positively old. I and a few other Gristers hopped a bus over to the rally in Key Arena and were greeted by a stadium overflowing with supporters, many of them high school and college students. I overheard an usher say “I dont see this kind of support for [Seattle’s basketball team] the Sonics anymore.” (The venue holds 18,000 people: by speech time it was over capacity, with people crowded on the floor, spilling into the aisles, and climbing up the walls into off-limits box seats; several thousand had been turned away at the door.)

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The Obama rally at Key Arena, Seattle, Wash.
Photo: Ashley Braun
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Obama waves to a packed crowd.
Photo: Ashley Braun

An impatient, excited crowd waited as Mayor Greg Nickels, Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), and Gov. Christine Gregoire stepped onstage to speak before Obama’s appearance. The biggest cheers came when Gov. Gregoire, a Washington superdelegate, reannounced her endorsement of Obama from earlier this morning.

Obama entered, received a rock-star-worthy standing ovation, and then spent about 50 minutes speaking about health care, poverty, the war in Iraq, and yes, the environment. (“We are at a defining moment in our history … our planet is in peril … we cannot wait to bring an end to global warming.”) He mentioned climate change and energy about eight times throughout the speech, spending a minute or two discussing green jobs, energy efficiency, greenhouse-gas-emissions reduction, and alternative energy. There was nothing there that would be new to Gristmillers.

Obama was, as expected, an inspiring speaker — and the crowd ate it up. But he was preaching to a friendly audience, and he knew it. It’ll be interesting to see how the caucuses play out tomorrow.

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Photo: Ashley Braun