Obama campaign comes to Pendleton

Barack Obama speaks to a crowd of more than 3,200 supporters last year at the Pendleton Convention.<br><i>EO file photo</i>

Presidential candidate Barack Obama wove Pendleton into the tapestry of history when he campaigned here May 18, 2008.

Some 3,200 people packed the Pendleton Convention Center to see the would-be president. Six days before he stumped in the Round-Up City, former President Bill Clinton drew a crowd of a few hundred at the Pendleton Recreation Center while he campaigned for Hillary Clinton, the other Democratic candidate seeking the presidential nomination.

Two days after Obama's whistle stop he won the Oregon primary on his way to the White House, although Umatilla and Morrow county voters primarily supported Republican John McCain, the man Obama beat to become the next president of the United States.

The crowd in Pendleton loved Obama, particularly when he admitted he won't be a perfect president but would always tell the American people what he thought and where he stood on issues. He said he was there for the people.

Obama used that rhetoric and the pledge of political change to sweep the electoral college and earn 52 percent of the popular vote. He also won without election day follies, which plagued the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. McCain even gave his concession speech on election night, just hours after polls closed on the West Coast.

Obama took the presidency with the U.S. economy on the verge of financial collapse, the nation's military fighting two wars in the Middle East and no national energy policy. He set an ambitious agenda in his first year, taking on the economy from the start. Arguably, the $775 billion economic stimulus and corporate bailout plan Congress passed and Obama signed helped the nation avoid another Great Depression, and over the last couple of months the economy has improved. The president's promise of universal health care also could come closer to becoming reality in January 2010.

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