• 66°

Ford column: Woo hoo! My mama and Obama

By Emily Ford
Salisbury Post
If you saw the video last week of Barack Obama saying, “George Bush and John McCain have a lot to answer for,” then you saw my mom.
Mom is right there, over Obama’s left shoulder, in the Watertown, S.D., livestock arena.
She’s got some shifty eyes going on for the first minute of the video, probably a little suspicious of the pushy national media and the entourage that comes along with a presidential campaign. She’s a good South Dakotan. “Welcome to South Dakota! Now exactly what do you plan to do here?”
You can pick her out of the crowd. At 2 minutes 53 seconds on most clips, Mom stands up and leads the ovation when Obama challenges John McCain to a foreign-policy debate.
You can see hear mouth form the renowned Ford family cry, “Woo hoo!”
This speech received worldwide attention, and the video was prominently featured on Web sites including CNN, AP, MSNBC, the New York Times and even the Salisbury Post.
There’s Barack Obama. And there’s my mom.
Woo hoo!
My dad, who appears for a split second in some of the videos, immediately e-mailed eight links to the family.
It was an odd place for Obama to make a major foreign policy statement. Dirt floor, covered with sawdust, smelling like manure. South Dakota not only boasts a population of less than 800,000, it also boasts the very last primary election in the country.
But this year, even South Dakota counts.
Obama had planned to talk about, surprise, rural issues. But first, he told the 1,500 hardy souls in the livestock arena, he wanted to address the “dustup” that had occurred the day before.
At this point, the folks seated behind Obama nod knowingly and start smiling and clapping. Except Mom. So Dad leans in and whispers something like, “Bush implicitly attacked Obama’s approach to foreign policy yesterday in Israel.”
“Oh!” Mom says, and claps.
You just don’t expect a presidential foreign policy scuffle in South Dakota.
Earlier that morning, Mom had a little dustup of her own with Obama’s security detail. She arrived wearing her 1980 George McGovern T-shirt, hoping that Obama would sign it.
But when she headed for the VIP section right behind the podium (and right in front of all those cameras), it became clear that “McGovern” is not exactly the name that Obama strategists waging one of the toughest primary battles ever want floating over their candidate’s left shoulder during a 5-minute video clip seen ’round the world.
So my mom put her sweater back on.
McGovern, South Dakota’s brilliant native son and statesman, was unfortunately one of the biggest Democratic losers in presidential history. The former senator did introduce Obama at a rally in Sioux Falls.
People sitting near Mom and Dad were soon receiving text messages from friends watching them live on television. We don’t get CNN with our $9 cable package, which I like to refer to as “reception,” so we had to settle for watching video clips on the computer.But the next morning while the kids were watching cartoons, Nellie for some reason switched to the CBS Early Show. At first I scolded her for turning on the news, which is mostly inappropriate for her 4-year-old sister to view.
Then I saw a familiar face.
“Look, it’s Grandma!”
No matter how many times we’d seen the video online, it was still more exciting to see it on TV.
If Bush had not implicitly criticized Obama the day before, and if Obama had delivered a farm talk May 16 and not a major foreign policy statement, no one would have noticed his appearance in this little town on the prairie, just a few miles from where Laura Ingalls Wilder grew up.But as it turned out, Mom heard from people all over the country who saw her over Obama’s left shoulder.
She’s a Barackstar.
In one video, my dad is, too. Go to www.YouTube. com and search for “Barack Obama Watertown South Dakota.”
When the crowd stands up, suddenly Obama has my fabulous mom over one shoulder and my handsome dad over the other.
This was a pretty powerful image for me. My mom, my dad and my president.
I hope.
Emily Ford covers the N.C. Research Campus.

Comments

Comments closed.

Local

Locals react to Chauvin verdict, reflect on work still to do

Business

With remote expansion, outsource provider FCR looks to become an ‘exceptional part’ of Rowan community

Local

City expects $1.5 million surplus in current budget, ability to raise some wages for police, public works

Education

Enochville Elementary to host farewell event May 1

High School

High school softball: Carson beats West in a wild one

College

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson will speak at NC State graduation

High School

Wonders, Trojans facing off Monday on Cannon Ballers’ field

Local

City approves two apartment developments, more than 160 new units

Nation/World

Crowds react with joy, wariness to verdict in Floyd’s death

News

Bill seeks to end pistol purchase permits from NC sheriffs

Coronavirus

Rowan County sees 300th death attributed to COVID-19

News

Chauvin convicted on all counts in George Floyd’s death

Local

Top North Carolina House finance chair, Rowan representative stripped of position

Crime

One charged, another hospitalized in fight between cousins

Local

Bell Tower Green renamed to honor Stanbacks; Nancy Stanback receives key to city

Business

Commissioners green light additional houses at Cherry Treesort in China Grove

Education

A.L. Brown will hold in-person, outdoor graduation

Local

Granite Quarry awards FEMA contract for Granite Lake Park

Local

City to vote on apartment developments, final phases of Grants Creek Greenway project

High School

High school football: North receiver McArthur a rising star

Columnists

Carl Blankenship: Pollen and prejudice make their return

News

Harris pitches $2.3T spending plan on trip to North Carolina

Nation/World

Murder case against ex-cop in Floyd’s death goes to the jury

Crime

Sheriff’s office: Man takes deputies on chase with stolen moped