Senator Barack Obama urges voters to cast primary ballots early

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The crowd outside of St. John Arena waiting for the rally for Presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama.
The crowd outside of St. John Arena waiting for the rally for Presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama.

Thousands of people, bundled in scarves, long overcoats and hats, braved single digit wind chills Wednesday morning, some for an hour, to hear Senator Barack Obama speak at Ohio State. Only the nose bleed section of Saint John Arena had vacant seats.

Senator Barack Obama, delayed by inclement weather in Cleveland, was more than an hour and a half late to his rally at Saint John Arena. But rally goers did not seem to care. Many of them, who had been outside in single digit wind chills, were just glad to be warm. Waiting or not. They entertained themselves by starting a wave around the arena. And being at Ohio State there was the occasional impromptu OH-IO.

Carnell Felton, a Columbus city worker and Vietnam Veteran, waited patiently to hear the Democratic Senator. Felton said was worried about Obama’s level of experience. But he said after hearing him in recent debates, that skepticism has vanished.

Felton said the issue he’s most concerned with is the Iraq War.

“I say bringing the boys is my major issue because I see what war do. And I see what the residual effect is when our boys come home and the girls come home,” Felton said.

Obama addressed Felton’s concern about the costly Iraq War. He told the crowd it was an unwise war that should have never been waged.

“That is why I opposed it in 2002 and that’ why I’ll bring this war to a close in 2009. I will bring our troops home,” Obama said.

Obama’s speech touched on the issues he’s touted from the beginning: the war, the economy, health care. One thing new Obama did talk about was voting early, and he encouraged people to do so.

“Everybody can leave this rally and go cast your ballot [Wednesday]. Don’t wait until March 4, we want you to vote now. I won’t tell you who to vote for. But do go out and cast your ballot.

But Obama immediately followed up that statement with:

“And if I’m making any sense. Then you might consider voting for me.”

Cathleen Mondino is an OSU grad student. Mondino has not made up her mind just yet if she’ll vote for Obama or his opponent Hillary Clinton come Tuesday. But she said foreign policy is the one issue that is a deciding factor.

“I don’t actually limit to just being the war in Iraq, but how do you deal with other hostile nations. I like how he addressed about talking to people we’re not friendly with. I think that needs to happen. A little nervous about no conditions at all,” Mondino said.

Obama quoted President Kennedy when he addressed how he would handle communication with enemies.

“He said we should never negotiate out of fear. But we should never fear to negotiate. Strong countries and strong presidents talk to their adversaries, tell them where America stands. That’s what I intend to do when I am president of the United States,” Obama said.

Toni Kleckley from Columbus said she’s voting for Obama. Kleckley said she thinks Obama is the candidate that will turn the country in the direction she would like to see it go.

“I would just love to see someone to acutally go in there for the people, and actually go in there and deal with the issues that are at hand and move us forward,” Kleckley said.

When asked what she likes best about Obama, Kleckley said:

“No drama with Obama.”

But with less than a week to go before the primary, there’s still plenty of drama left in the race.

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