A supporter of U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) cries as she listens to him at the Tulane University during a campaign event in New Orleans February 7, 2008. REUTERS/Carlos Barria (UNITED STATES) US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008 (USA)
One of the embarrassing episodes of Rudy Giuliani’s campaign was being interrupted in the middle of delivering a speech, by cell phone, supposedly from his wife. I say “supposedly”, because this happened around 15 times, apparently. You see, the whole thing was staged to make Giuliani look…like a dotting husband, maybe? I don’t know. All it did was deliver another torpedo to his presidential run.Then of course, Hillary was caught planting questions in the audience. None of this is unique to just these two; but what it reminds us, is that they are first and foremost, politicians.While on my drive to work, I heard the same Medved hour that this blogger did:
A radio talk show host uncovered the story and I heard it on Michael Medved today. Apparently, Barack Obama, in a variation of Groundhog Day (or James Brown), has a woman faint, asks for help, and then offers her a water bottle at most of his rallies. Kind of amazing, isn’t it? I’m sure if somebody asked him and Barack Obama were honest, he’d say: “Yeah, chicks dig it.”
A supporter of U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) cries as she listens to his speech during a campaign rally at the Key Arena in Seattle, Washington February 8, 2008. REUTERS/Carlos Barria (UNITED STATES) US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008 (USA)
Apparently, just like some televangelist laying on hands, Senator Barack Obama has a godlike effect upon some of his true believers….or does he?The number of incidents where a woman in the front row faints at his campaign rallies, is suspect; as is the manner in which Barack Obama responds, as if it were a unique, first-time occurrence.I will periodically update this post as I (or readers help me) find incidents on YouTube or newspaper articles on this. Here’s one for starters:
The Barack Obama water bottle incident, Feb. 4, 2008, at the XL Center in Hartford.
Commenters on this YouTube link are saying they’ve found as many as 7 different videos so far, of different campaign stops, with the same “woman fainting” sketch.
Here is another one Word:
Update 22:01 From LA Times Top of the Ticket blog, dated January 8th:
As observed this morning by our colleague Maria La Ganga, who has spent so much time on the Obama campaign bus they’re thinking about engraving her name on a seat:
Barack Obama‘s first and only rally on election day came to a sudden and lengthy stop when a young woman in the Dartmouth College gym fainted, and was eventually rolled off on a gurney by emergency medical technicians.
At first Obama half-narrated the episode, saying soothing things like, “She’s OK,” “She’s talking.” But the longer she lay on the floor, the quieter Obama got, standing on the podium, arms folded, looking worried as the medical crew worked.
A gum-chomping Larry David, in town to help with Obama’s get-out-the-vote campaign, paced the edge of the student-filled gym, muttering. “How can I restrain myself?” he said to anyone who would listen. “I have such a great line…. Should I yell something out?”
Finally, he did: “Sinatra had the same effect on people!” “I was trying to break the tension,” he said later. “I don’t think they knew who Sinatra was.”
La Ganga reports that the audience didn’t laugh, while Obama seemed to snicker — and looked even more uncomfortable.
— Scott Martelle
UPDATE — La Ganga reports that the young woman who passed out is a Dartmouth student. The college would not release her name, but said that she was taken to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center for treatment.
“As far as we know, she’s fine,” said Genevieve Haas, college spokeswoman.
James Taranto at the Wallstreet Journal citing James Vicevich, the Connecticut radio talk show host who seems to have broken the story:
- Montecito, Calif., Sept. 8, 2007. “A woman standing in front of the stage appeared to faint as Obama spoke about Iraq,” the Associated Press reported. “The candidate paused and asked the crowd to make way for firefighters. One supporter shouted, ‘You’re a good man,’ leaving Obama momentarily at a loss for words. ‘Well, I’m not the only one stopping to help her,’ he said, sounding almost embarrassed.”
- Madison, Wis., Oct. 22, 2007. “This excitement mirrored the aura in the room that grew throughout his speech,” reported WISN-TV. “Before the senator arrived, students were tossing around an inflatable cow above the crowd. Three people fainted in the midst of all the enthusiasm.”
- Hanover, N.H., Jan. 8, 2008. “Barack Obama’s first and only rally on election day came to a sudden and lengthy stop when a young woman in the Dartmouth College gym fainted, and was eventually rolled off on a gurney by emergency medical technicians,” the Los Angeles Times reported. “At first Obama half-narrated the episode, saying soothing things like, ‘She’s OK,’ ‘She’s talking.’ But the longer she lay on the floor, the quieter Obama got, standing on the podium, arms folded, looking worried as the medical crew worked.” Minneapolis’s WCCO-TV has video showing Obama handing a bottle of water to the Dartmouth damsel in distress.
- Hartford, Conn., Feb. 4, 2008. “And when a woman appeared to faint in the standing-only VIP section in front of the podium, Obama paused his speech for over a minute as he directed the crowd to make way for an EMT team and tossed a bottle of water from the stage,” reported the Yale Daily News.
- Seattle, Feb. 8, 2008. “Climate change, the Iraq war and Obama tossing a bottle of water to a woman about to faint all received big cheers,” MSNBC.com reported. “As Obama told the crowd to part so that the woman in question could leave and called for help, a young girl in the crowd shouted out, ‘What a man!’ The audience roared with laughter (although the press that has seen this happen before rolled its eyes).”
UPDATE 22:29 LMAO! Anyone want to go over there and burst his bubble? Oh wait…his first commenter already did that. Actually…the comments section is entertaining too.
I suppose it leaves me open to charges of O-worship, but I was impressed last evening with the moment when Barack Obama noticed a woman fainting near the front of his audience. Most of his speech was pretty much his standard stump speech, so full of vocal dynamics and rhythmic shifts that it has now been set to a kind of music. Actually, I think that video does a nice job of filling in a certain gap in our understanding of the Obama phenomenon. A lot of the young people who came to Hartford were drawn by somebody whose appeal was a blend of performance ability and idealism. Bono with no band. Obama uses cadence and repetition (matched up with imagery) in ways that are very familiar to people immersed in popular culture.
But back to the fainter. You always look for a moment where a candidate has to go way, way off Caroline_kennedy_20406_2 script and respond to something the handlers could not have prepped for. A lot of politicians woud have noticed. A lot of them would have stopped long enough to say, “I think this woman needs some attention!” Obama went a little bit further. He really stopped. He wasn’t going to do another thing until he felt this situation was under control. He walked over. He instructed to crowd to give her some space. He found a bottle of water up on stage and tossed it down to be offered to her.
Behind me, a bunch of college kids, up from Yale, started chanting, semi-hunorously, “Relationship skills! Relationship skills!”
UPDATE 02-16-08 1130hrs PST
Breitbart has a rundown of these “fainting spells”
As requested by Word, almost the whole hour of Medved on this subject & the perjury story that came out today.
Here is Medved stringing together all the audio of the water bottle incidents, you can really hear how similiar each one is listening to this segment: