Minooka woman recalls Obama victory rally
By Tony Graf firstname.lastname@example.org November 9, 2012 12:04AM
Mary Lou Carr (left) of Minooka and Kim Mitchell of Channahon attend Tuesday's rally for President Obama in Chicago. | SUBMITTED PHOTO
Updated: December 10, 2012 6:22AM
Mary Lou Carr of Minooka remembers the moment on Tuesday night when President Obama’s Ohio victory was announced to the crowd at McCormick Place: The signal that he had gained the 270 electoral votes necessary to win the election.
“Lots of screaming, lots of crying,” said Carr, who was at the rally for the big moment. “Everybody who was surrounding me — we were all just so happy. I looked to the left of me: There was a lady praying. I looked to the right of me: A 70-year-old man had a tear in his eye. It was beautiful.”
Carr, along with friend Kim Mitchell of Channahon, took a train from Joliet’s Union Station to Chicago on Tuesday night. Both had worked phone banks for the campaign, and had earned tickets to Obama’s rally at McCormick Place.
“We felt like we were Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory with the golden ticket,” Carr said.
After the Ohio announcement, the crowd then waited for Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s concession speech.
“They had the big jumbotron up there,” Carr said. “We did get to watch Romney, which was a very nice speech.”
The next big moment came when Obama took the stage shortly after 12:35 a.m.
“He made a speech to thank all of the volunteers,” Carr said. “He said he was going to be a better president because we volunteered for him.”
“We were to the right of the stage,” Carr said. “Obviously the TV cameras were right in front of him. We were just to the right of him. Kim and I could definitely see him and Michelle, and how tall the girls have gotten in four years.”
The last time Carr saw Malia and Sasha in person, it was at Obama’s 2008 victory rally in Chicago’s Grant Park.
This year, McCormick Place was packed.
“There was not a table, not a chair, nothing. You walked in there, and once you got to your spot, you never turned around and got a water or Coke, because you would have lost your spot,” Carr said.
“Standing on the green grass four years ago, it was a lot softer than that old concrete in the McCormick Place,” Carr said.
However, Carr enjoyed the excitement Tuesday, and did not feel sore until it was over. She said it was well worth it.
Mary Lou and Kim’s final tally for Election Night: five hours on the concrete, 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.
And $90 for the taxi ride from Chicago back to Joliet’s Union Station.
The two realized that, in order to stay for Obama’s speech, they would have to miss the last train home. That meant a cab fare — which they also felt was worth it.
“We figured, ‘Well, we’ll never, ever be seeing Barack Obama get elected again,’ so we both forked over $45,’” Carr said.