About that 75,000 strong Obama rally …

The buzz of the week earlier this week was the mainstream media’s news reports of how Barack Obama had a rally in Oregon that drew 75,000 people. It was an impressive story, but left out of most reports was the following information from Oregon Live about what else was going on at Portland’s Waterfront Park this past Sunday:

Obama was the biggest star at Sunday’s gathering — though a popular Portland band, The Decemberists, provided the warmup act. With blue skies and temperatures in the 80s, many in the crowd said Waterfront Park was simply the place to be.

Can The Decemberists draw large crowds? Jim Geraghty provides the answer:

Looks like the Decemberists can pack them in for free concerts. In a show in Millennium Park in Chicago, one review said 10,000; a diary by one of the band members speculates 20,000. Again, Obama has shown time and again that he can pack crowds into arenas, and he can take pride in the 75,000+ that showed up Sunday. But a free concert by local stars helps…

Also reported from Oregon Live:

It appears to be a record crowd for an Oregon political event. In 2004, 50,000 turned out to see Democratic Sen. John Kerry, who brought along movie idol Leonardo DiCaprio and rocker Jon Bon Jovi.

Nothin’ like a little star power to drum up attendance, eh? Or the Obama campaign coincidentally giving away free tickets to a Dave Matthews concert a the same time Bill Clinton was speaking at a rally in Indiana back in early April:

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — It was an unexpected showdown of surrogates for Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton here Wednesday, and it sure looked like Obama’s representative whipped up the most excitement.

As former President Bill Clinton was extolling his wife’s credentials, Obama’s campaign office in Bloomington began giving away tickets to Sunday’s Dave Matthews concert at Assembly Hall.

Jason Schechtman, 19, Deerfield, Ill., a student at IU, got his tickets about 8 p.m. after waiting more than three hours. He met folks in line who said they’d left the Clinton rally to wait for tickets.

“I was leaning toward Obama, but this sealed the deal for sure,” he said. “The Obama campaign announced this right as (Bill Clinton) was about to speak, and it brought everyone from over there to over here.”

Back to Oregon: Either way, whether it was 55K who turned out for Obama and the other 20K turned out for The Decemberists (who, as Michael Goldbarb notes, typically open their sets with the Soviet National Anthem …), or whether they were all out there for him, it’s still an impressive crowd – and we know Obama knows how to draw a huge crowd. Still, it would have been nice for more than just the local media to have reported this little tidbit of info. As it stands, the impression it gives is that everyone there went specifically to see Barack Obama, rather than the impression that maybe 15-25% of the crowd were there to see The Decemberists and stuck around for the BO rally.

Now, the media would never deliberately mislead anyone in an effort to embellish things in a positive way for Barack Obama, now would they? :-?

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