Monday, September 1, 2008

East Bay delegates 'signed, sealed, delivered' on Obama

DENVER — No matter which presidential candidate East Bay delegates embraced when they arrived here Monday at the Democratic National Convention, the fourth and final day sealed the deal for Sen. Barack Obama.

He delivered his acceptance speech Thursday night before the roar of 84,000 people in a packed Invesco Field, among them nearly five dozen East Bay delegates.

"It was an incredible and historic speech," Obama delegate and major fund-raiser Tony West of Oakland said shortly after the newly nominated Democratic presidential candidate walked off the stage. "It was a speech that challenged America, celebrated history and more."

Tony Thurmond, an Obama delegate and Richmond city councilman, called it an "amazing speech" and said the candidate evoked the spirit of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. with his "vision of how we can restore America."

Obama also "took it tonight to a new level in the campaign against (presumed Republican nominee) John McCain," Thurmond said.

Politically, Obama did what he needed to do in his speech, said Lou Paulson of Walnut Creek, an Obama super-delegate and director of the California Firefighters Association.

"Obama covered all the bases in his speech, from guns to abortion to the economy to energy to the war," Paulson said. "He needed to be very specific."

Some had hoped for a different kind of history in the making, one that saw the first woman nominated for the president of the AdvertisementUnited States.

But on the anniversary of King's "I Have a Dream" speech, they joyfully celebrated their party's nomination of the first African-American man for president.

Clinton delegate Angela Ramirez Holms, as recording artist Stevie Wonder sang to a packed stadium, is "signed, sealed and delivered."

She still considers herself an avid Clinton supporter. But she is now ready to campaign for Obama.

"When I came to Denver on Monday, I thought this convention was about women," said Holmes, a Pleasanton mother of three. "But when it was over, I realized this convention was about family. It was an epiphany, a cathartic moment, a healing."

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