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We've Been Had

8:25 PM, May 20, 2008 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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This was Obama's rally in Oregon over the weekend, which saw 75,000 people gather on the waterfront, on a sunny summer day, to hear the great one speak. Or did they? The headline in the New York Times was "Obama Draws Huge Crowd in Oregon." So they must have been there to see Obama, right? Wrong.

Hugh points to this report from the local paper:

Obama was the biggest star at Sunday's gathering -- though a popular Portland band, The Decemberists, provided the warmup act. With blue skies and temperatures in the 80s, many in the crowd said Waterfront Park was simply the place to be.

I don't listen to that kind of noise pollution, but I know that on a gorgeous, unseasonably mild day in Portland, a free performance by a hugely successful local band is likely to draw a huge crowd, and it seems that's precisely what happened. Nobody denies that Obama is a phenomenon, drawing enormous crowds wherever he goes, but this was reported like all of Oregon showed up to see Obama. New information has come to light.

Hugh also notes that The Decemberists typically open their shows with what I'm sure is a stirring rendition of the Soviet national anthem. No word on whether they opened the Obama rally with such a performance, but I'm certain our trusted media would have reported it if they did.