Obama rally draws young and old alike

The rally at Coffman Union was one of more than 50 Obama rallies nationwide.

More than 100 people gathered Saturday in front of Coffman Union to show support for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

The rally was one of more than 50 nationwide on Saturday. Attendees ranged from children to retirees, from University students to union members. Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak was expected to attend, but didn’t show.

State Sen. Patricia Torres Ray, DFL-Minneapolis, spoke at the rally. She said Obama supporters need to work now to get him elected in November.

“I think people are very excited about this campaign,” she said. “We have to build on that excitement.”

The goal was to get people energized and involved in the campaign, rally organizer Sonja Karger said, adding that participants hoped to generate support for Obama before Tuesday’s Pennsylvania primary.

Karger said New York, Los Angeles and Chicago were among other cities to hold Saturday rallies.

Global studies sophomore Adam Hennings, president of Students for Barack Obama, said he supports the senator mainly because of his stance on the war. He also said on-campus caucuses in February showed Obama can mobilize young people.

“He sees the world as students see the world,” Hennings said. “He grew up in the globalized world like we are.”

The rally began with a performance of the “Star-Spangled Banner” and also featured spoken-word performances.

Abdul Magba-Kamara, president of College Republicans, said there are plans to have rallies for Republican presidential candidate John McCain before the November elections.

Although McCain is older, Magba-Kamara said he’s still an exciting candidate.

“When it’s time for him to put on his game face, he’s just as energizing as anyone else,” he said.

While the Democratic nominees are still squaring off against each other, Republicans are focusing their collective efforts on presumptive nominee McCain.