ROCHESTER, N.H. -- Barack Obama drew an enormous, boisterous crowd to the town hall (and opera house) here this evening. The room isn't big enough to hold everyone; as I write this, Obama has delayed the event's start so he can go outside to talk to the line down the block of supporters who won't get in. Campaign aides piped the sound out from the event on loudspeakers.
The crowd inside, meanwhile, is clapping along to Stevie Wonder songs and chanting, "O-ba-ma!" It's a lot younger than the group I saw this morning to hear Bill Clinton. These Obama supporters may or may not be likely voters, but if they're as excited on Tuesday as they are tonight, the polls showing him with a big lead could be right.
Just as Obama started speaking, a group of anti-abortion protesters began chanting, "Abortion is an abomination!" The crowd tried to drown them out. And then Obama actually silenced his own supporters, saying, "This is an example of nobody hearing each other." As the protesters were cleared out, Obama told the crowd, "Alright, the excitement is over. Or it's just beginning." And with that, he picked up where he left off and kept going.