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Rock concert crowd greets Obama in Denver

Charles Rex Arbogast/APDemocratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., works the crowd before his campaign speech in Denver.
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DENVER, Colorado ” The arena felt more like a rock concert than a rally for a presidential hopeful.

“Are you fired up?” yelled former Denver Mayor Federico Pena, much to the delight of the crowd waiting for Sen. Barack Obama to arrive Wednesday.

More than 10,000 people packed Magness Arena at the University of Denver, and others were turned away. Some had waited in line for hours.



Pena, who is one of Obama’s national campaign co-chairs, led the crowd in a back-and-forth chant of “Fired up! Ready to Go!”

The mostly young crowd held signs reading “Barack the Vote” and “Colorado for Obama.” At one point, they did the wave.



Obama’s visit came ahead of Colorado’s presidential caucuses on Tuesday. Twenty one other states also have primaries or caucuses that day.

When Obama finally took the stage after an introduced by Caroline Kennedy, he said it looked like a crowd that might gather at the Democratic National Convention in Denver this summer.

“You guys don’t have the funny hats yet. We need to get you some funny hats,” he said.



“Seven months from now, the Democratic Party will gather here in Denver to nominate our candidate for president of the United States of America,” Obama said.

“This city, built at the base of the Rocky Mountains, stands as a monument to a uniquely American belief in things unseen,” he said. “Here in Denver, fur trappers and traders, gold rushers and ranchers, came in search of opportunity and made the future their home.

“The story of America leads west,” he said.

Also attending the rally were Mayor John Hickenlooper, Colorado Senate President Peter Groff and U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter.


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