Seventy-five thousand people came to see Barack Obama give a speech in Oregon on Sunday - a crowd size expected to turn up to a concert rather than a campaign rally. In a country known to be apathetic when it comes to political gatherings, how does Obama mobilise so many?

The pre-primary meeting in preparation for today's Oregon poll took place in a riverside park near Portland. Although Obama hasn't quite clinched the democratic nomination, he's comfortably ahead of rival Hillary Clinton - which allowed him to focus his speech on his future challenger: Republican John McCain.

Obama during the rally. Photo: "yeojin.n"

"Obama doesn't play on fear"

Blogger and Obama fan John Aravosis is one of our Observers in the US.

Barack Obama is the only candidate to attract crowds like this. Six months into the presidential election, it's simply incredible. I found it hard to believe. Of course, Obama is a fantastic speaker, and much better than Clinton. I heard him at a Democratic convention four years ago. And my god, I can tell you he was good!

I also think that his simple and strong message has something to do with it. I would go as far as saying that his speeches have a philosophical side. Maybe in Europe that's normal, but in the States we're used to your run-of-the-mill no-nonsense speeches. Personally, I find it encouraging that he doesn't only get voters by promising to cut taxes. Obama isn't satisfied with hollow slogans and sweeteners.

Above all, Obama doesn't play on fear like George Bush or McCain. He offers hope and a positive image for the future. We haven't heard that kind of talk since September 11.

It's enough to say Obama attracts people because they're inspired. Not only young and black people like some people say. The people who come to these meetings are from all over, and they're mainly white.

McCain also has a strong personality, he's foxy and good in public. Like Bush before him, he plays the "ordinary guy" card. But McCain is far from having the energy or charisma that Obama has at rallies."

Posted by "SGT_USMC" on 19 May 08