Obama’s Turn

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Compared to Hillary Clinton's star turn this morning, nearly everything about the CBC's climate change discussion featuring Barack Obama seemed somehow smaller: slightly smaller venue, fewer celebrity attendees, far less speaking time, divided among a slew of scientists and community leaders.

 

But there was nothing small about the reaction the Illinois senator got from the crowd, as business-suited attendees clambered on top of hotel chairs to snap cell phone shots and reach for autographs.

Obama didn't cover any policy ground beyond climate change and related environmental issues. Still, his comments were a hit with the star-struck audience. "I suspect that the next president is going to be making a very bold proposal on this issue. Whoever that may be…" said a smiling Obama, "will need you to have HIS back." The crowd roared.

"I think he offered the more substantial solutions," said Shani Sonseirrae Harmon, 23. Harmon began the day as an undecided voter, but after sitting through both Clinton and Obama's remarks, "I'm leaning towards Obama now."

Still, the biggest hit of the session wasn't Barack Obama, but Oakland activist Van Johnson, who brought down the house when he informed fellow panelist and Inconvenient Truth producer Lawrence Bender: "I've got a PowerPoint too! The PowerPoint Al Gore would do if he was a black man. If you want to do a movie on it, let me know."