Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Dems celebrate Obama at party in Arizona capital

Hope for positive change in US and AZ.

PHOENIX -- Roughly 300 excited Arizona Democrats celebrated the inauguration of President Obama Jan. 20 at Stoudemire's restaurant in downtown Phoenix. The crowd joined others across the nation in watching the historic moment.

Pins, hats, shirts and stickers bearing the name and image of President Barack Obama were everywhere. Even a life-sized cardboard cutout of the President stood elevated high above the proceedings.

Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard spoke to the jubilant crowd in Stoudemire's after the swearing-in ceremony and President's speech.

"You can't listen to such an amazing ceremony and not feel the power of change," Goddard said. "Change is coming and we could see it throughout this ceremony."

Goddard said his favorite moment of the inaugural proceedings was the brief moment of confusion during the oath of office when Chief Justice John Roberts accidentally rearranged the Constitutional wording of the oath.

Goddard carried a scarf on stage, saying it represented "solidarity" with the freezing masses on the Mall in Washington, D.C. When asked why he decided to stay in Arizona, rather than travel to the nation's capital, Goddard laughed again, gesturing toward the sky.

"How could you be anywhere else?" he asked, smiling. "I was there in '92, and froze on the Mall. One moment of history in acute physical distress is enough. I think it's much better to be here with folks in Arizona."

When asked if he was ready to announce a bid for governor of Arizona, Goddard laughed again."I'm just putting my head down," he said. "Tomorrow I'm going to the next governor's inauguration. I wish her well. It's always tough to have a leader like Janet Napolitano leave the state. She had a clear vision and did a great job for us."

Other Democrats attending included recently elected Democratic State Representatives Daniel Patterson and Eric Meyer; Tim Nelson, who ran against Maricopa County Attorney General Andrew Thomas in 2008; Dan Saban, who took on Sheriff Joe Arpaio in the most recent election; Bob Lord, who was defeated by Republican John Shadegg in the 3rd Congressional District; Tucson City Councilman Rodney Glassman; and former Pima County Democratic Party Chairman Vince Rabago.

Patterson said he was excited about the change in power, saying he hopes some of the positive spirit in Washington will "rub off" on the Arizona Legislature.

"(President Obama) needs all of us to work together,"
Patterson said. "Without cooperation, it's hard to get things done."

As former President Bush boarded the helicopter that would take him from Washington, D.C. to Crawford, Texas, cheers went up among the lingering attendees.The party at Stoudemire's was sponsored by the Nucleus Club.

- adapted from Arizona Capitol Times

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