presidential candidate Barack Obama told thousands at a
rally Thursday that he would bring serious change to
Washington if elected.
senator, speaking in front of the landmark arch in
Washington Square Park in lower Manhattan's Greenwich
Village, said that to truly effect change partisan
politics must be stopped and the people must have
access once again to the federal government.
''We are sick and
tired of being sick and tired. We want something new.
We want some change,'' he said, quoting the late voting and
civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer. The phrase is
one he uses often on the campaign trail.
dark blue slacks and a light blue dress shirt with an open
collar and rolled-up sleeves, came on stage to Kanye West's
inspirational song ''Touch the Sky,'' as thousands,
including many college students, crammed into the park
near New York University.
He discussed the
war in Iraq and health care but avoided direct criticism
of any of his opponents in the presidential race.
He also commented
on the diversity of the crowd before him.
young people and old people,'' he said. ''You've got poor
folk and not-so-poor folk. You've got blacks, whites,
Asians, Native Americans. You've got gay and straight.
You've got people with disabilities. You've got
Democrats and independents, and, yes, you've even got
thunderous applause when he said many came to the nighttime
rally because they are fed up with the Constitution being
treated as a ''nuisance'' instead as of the foundation
of the country, and with a war ''that never should've
been authorized and has cost us thousands of lives.''
his audience that he was an early opponent of the Iraq
war, and that he would step up diplomacy and humanitarian
He also said he
would help the millions of people who do not have health
insurance, and talked about watching his mother die of
cancer at age 53 while worrying about whether the
insurance company would pay the bills.
''I know what
it's like to watch a loved one suffer not just from illness
but from a broken health care system,'' Obama said. (Marcus