Obama mania sweeps Alexandria

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If theres one thing on the minds of Alexandrians as they head to the polls for the Democratic primary on Tuesday, its change. Many told The Times Sunday they are looking for change in the direction of the country, and looking for some extra chang

e in their pockets as the economic outlook turns dour.  

For many Alexandrians, Barack Obama is the most likely symbol of change.  

No where was change celebrated more as a campaign theme than at Sen. Barack Obamas campaign rally at T.C. Williams High School on Sunday. Some 4,000 Alexandrians and locals from Greater Washington turned out to here Obamas message and express their own discontent for the current administration. 

The way business is done in Washington is what makes people distrustful of their government.  On the day I am inaugurated this country will look at itself differently and this country will be seen differently oversees,” Obama told the enthusiastic crowd. 

When I hear him speak, I almost want to cry…I have not been affected this way since Bobby Kennedy,” said attendee Bill Murphy of Alexandria.  

I want a president who is going to be right on day one about the war, said Kim Lewis, who decided to support Obama after watching last weeks debate. Camilah Lawson has been an Obama devotee from the beginning. Hes fabulous…Im so ready for a change. 

Many local officials were also unified in their praise for Obama and his performance Sunday. He always does a superb job,” said Rep. Jim Moran (D-8), who made a surprise endorsement of Obama on Sunday.  

Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille, an early supporter of Obama, said the momentum is building in Northern Virginia. There is a rolling tide shifting every day and every hour. 

Many Alexandrians said they came Sunday to inform their decision about which candidate to choose. Many are still struggling with the choice between Obama and his rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY). I came here to hear Obama one last time before I vote on Tuesday. He appeals to the heart and soul of America, but I am still deciding,” said Carol Higgins, who attended with her friend Jennifer Walker, an Obama supporter who lives in Del Ray. 

Many said their minds were already firmly made up. Melissa Fife said she has been an Obama supporter since hearing his speech at the Democratic National Convention four years in 2004. Fife said she has been supporting his candidacy all along, but will think twice about Clinton if she is the nominee.  

This sentiment was echoed by Courtney Tharpe who said she supported Obama because she found Clinton polarizing. Tharpe and her sister recently crawled bars to hand out stickers for Obama and said that John McCain supporters readily accepted Obamas campaign materials, but scoffed at the Clinton supporters. 

Obama made mention of Hillary Clinton in his rally speech saying he was the best candidate for the nomination because Clinton automatically has 47% of the people against her. 

Euille and Moran were both gracious in their comments about Clinton and her campaign, but predicted that Obama would prevail on Tuesday. Both men plan to campaign with Obama over the next two days leading up to Tuesday’s Virginia Primary.

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