More than an hour into today's presidential rally at USC, actor Jamie Foxx led the crowd chant of “We're not exhausted.”
It's not much of a rallying cry. But for much of the crowd of 37,500, it wasn't even true. Attendees were made to stand in line for hours before being subjected to too many speakers and too much Ozomatli.
By the time Jerry Brown hit the stage, he had to apologize for even being there. “I'm not going to talk too long,” he said, drawing a chorus of cheers.
The whole point of the thing was to get people motivated to go vote for Brown and the rest of the Democratic ticket. So it's probably not great that by the time Brown got out there, nobody wanted to hear from anybody not named Obama.
Was this avoidable? Or is this just how it is when you're the president and you don't make it to L.A. very often? Everybody needs to be on that stage, even if they have nothing terribly interesting to say.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had the honor of leading things off. He got started about 12:25 p.m., while Obama was still across campus at a lunch fundraiser for Sen. Barbara Boxer. He did his usual fire-'em-up routine, which was fine, but then came the first sign of trouble.
He relinquished the stage to his cousin, Assembly Speaker John Perez. Perez is running unopposed in his district, so he doesn't need an Obama bump. But there he was anyway, sending his own personal “message to the teabaggers” that not only do Democrats understand the Constitution, but they've also read it. Zing! Who are you again?
Then, instead of turning things over to a candidate for office, Perez introduced the USC student body president, who offered some noble sentiments about democracy, and … where's the president? Still dining with big-dollar contributors?
When she was finished, Perez came back out. “I want to introduce the president…” (cheers, excitement, the president is coming!) “… of the Southern California Board of Rabbis!”
So the rabbi, Denise Eger, came out and gave a (lengthy) invocation and encouraged gay kids not to commit suicide. Noble. Heartfelt. What have you done with the president?
And on and on. Kumar from “Harold & Kumar” showed up. Not one, but two community organizers from Organizing for America. The USC marching band. A children's chorus. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. Ozomatli.
Ozomatli? Yes. By the third song, sections of the crowd were chanting “Obama! Obama!” But the band was told to do yet another song, because apparently the president wasn't finished taking pictures with the folks who gave $10,000 apiece for the privilege.
At one point, paramedics were seen carrying a woman away from the area closest to the stage. Obama fatigue.
By the time Obama took the stage — at 2:05 p.m. — many folks had been on their feet for five hours. He made sure people got what they came for — a good, solid 25 minutes of Republican-bashing red meat. If you've seen any of the president's other recent rallies on C-SPAN, you got the gist.
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