Today, the College Democrats and the Rockefeller Center co-sponsored an appearance by Senator Barack Obama at Dartmouth. Here's a picture of him addressing the crowd in the courtyard outside the Center.
Some estimates put the crowd at 5-6,000. That was my unscientific estimate as well from my vantage point underneath that flag. I saw what was in the picture below, a crowd that could likely have been arranged in about 60 rows of 100 people each.
There was nothing surprising about his remarks if you have heard him speak before. His line on the war in Iraq is, "We need to be as careful getting out as we were careless getting in." On the domestic side, he covered the big three of health care, education, and the environment in a way that didn't seem to be different from other Democrats I've heard. Nothing on immigration as I recall.
In the press conference that followed, the questions were split between specific issues (mostly the war) and the process of the campaign. On the latter, it seemed as if the press wanted him to comment unduly on current polls, such as these, in which he is trailing Senator Clinton. He answered them politely. I think he should have used the Fight Club defense: The first rule of a campaign is, "Don't Talk About the Campaign." Talk about the issues. Talk about people.
On a personal level, he seemed both gracious and attentive, despite what is already a grueling schedule. I think he will continue to grow as a candidate, in just the way we would hope from retail politics in New Hampshire. I stand by what I wrote in these two earlier posts. There's only one poll that matters in the end.
UPDATES: An example of the press coverage of his appearance, in this post by John McCormick of the Chicago Tribune. The article in the campus newspaper here. Video of the event is being posted. This link is to YouTube search results. Here's a short clip that shows his appeal--none of his rivals are as compelling on this issue.