MANCHESTER, N.H. – Senator Barack Obama said his trip to New Hampshire on Sunday would help him make a decision on whether to seek the presidency, a decision he says will be equivalent in his life only to the moment he asked his wife to marry him.
At a press conference moments before he was set to address 1,500 activists at a Democratic rally in Manchester, Obama said the considerable interest in him is really about the American electorate searching for something fresh and hopeful.
“I think that people are very hungry for something new,” said Obama. “I think they are interested in being called to be part of something larger than the kind of small, petty slash-and-burn politics that we have been seeing over the last several years, and to some degree I think I am a stand-in for that desire on the part of the country.”
The atmosphere around Obama accounted for more of the discussion than what he actually said. The New Hampshire Democratic Party said that for the event in Manchester, more than 150 press credentials were given out, and several of those were to foreign journalists. At just two events, Obama spoke in front of at least 2,250 people.
The last time a political gathering this big occurred in this state was in two days before Election Day in 2004 when John Kerry led a Democratic rally in the downtown streets of Manchester.
In the preprimary phase of the 2008 campaign, Obama is currently the only candidate drawing this much attention. George W. Bush's campaign attracted a lot of interest in the summer of 1999, but his large crowds drew on decades worth of political connections from his father.
Of his African-American race, Obama said minority and women candidates face a “higher threshold” than white males seeking the same office.