Since Barack Obama’s (public) inauguration is today, and it’s also MLK Day, and there’s the annual King Day at the Dome march and rally in Columbia, I went looking for an image that sort of tied these things together.
Unfortunately, what I found was a very poor quality, but I share it anyway.
Above is an image of Barack Obama speaking at the King Day ceremonies on Jan. 21, 2008, just a few days before the South Carolina primary. Seated to his right you can (sort of) see Hillary Clinton (with a red scarf) and John Edwards, awaiting their turns to speak. (It was a fairly low-res image taken at a distance and blown up, and the subjects were in shadow while the foreground was brightly lit.)
It was brutally cold. Earlier in the day, after meeting with me and the editorial board at The State, Obama borrowed our men’s room to put on some long johns that someone in his entourage had run out to buy for him during our interview. It was a slightly funny scene when I went downstairs a few minutes after our meeting ended to see if our guests had left, and found Secret Service agents guarding the men’s room.
I don’t know where they found long johns to buy that early on a holiday morning. All I know is that was a fairly busy day. First, there was the Obama interview, which he could only do at 8 a.m. on MLK Day, as the week before he had not been closer to us than Nevada. (Normally, my day started at 10 — and ended about 8.)
Then we had to meet to make our endorsement decision. This was facilitated by the fact that we all liked Obama, Joe Biden (whom we also liked) had dropped out months before, and Hillary Clinton’s campaign had avoided meeting with us. Maybe she could have talked us into endorsing her instead, but by that point I was seeing her as emblematic of old partisan warfare and Obama as something new and better. So it would have been a challenge for her, but not impossible. But the deliberate avoidance of an interview meant she denied herself that chance.
Still, we discussed it thoroughly, and made our decision. Then I ran out and froze for awhile at the King Day event, and came back and blogged about it. Then the endorsement had to be written, along with my column about the endorsement. I taped a brief video announcement about the endorsement. Some of the was completed the next day, as I didn’t post the endorsement stuff until then, and the endorsement and column weren’t in the paper until Wednesday.
But it was still a pretty busy day, considering it was our day off.