Kamala Harris’ First Campaign Event Draws Larger Crowd Than Obama’s in 2007

The excitement surrounding the candidacy of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California) seems to be very energetic already — comparable, and in some ways exceeding, what was witnessed when former President Barack Obama first ran for the highest office in the land.

Harris officially announced her run for president on Sunday at a campaign event outside of Oakland City Hall, per reporting from the Washington Examiner. According to her campaign press secretary Ian Sams, the event drew more than 20,000 people.

That should be an eye-opener for analysts and pundits to take note of. Obama, when he first announced his candidacy for president in 2007, drew between 15,000 and 17,000 individuals — nothing to sneeze at, to be sure, but smaller than Harris’s numbers on Sunday.

At the same time, it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison. Obama had one disadvantage during his announcement speech 12 years ago: he was delivering it in weather that the Chicago Tribune described at the time as “brutal, bitter cold.” Wind chill temperatures during his event in Springfield, Illinois, in 2007 were in the single digits, the paper also noted.

Then again, when Obama came to Oakland a month later to campaign, the attendance at that event drew at most 14,000 individuals — still a significantly large number, but a number that was 30 percent smaller than what had been seen at Harris’s event over the weekend.

The message that the candidate delivered seemed to resonate with audience members there. Harris made clear in her first official campaign speech that her candidacy was partly meant to be a repudiation to the current administration of President Donald Trump.

“We are here because the American dream and our American democracy are under attack and on the line like never before,” Harris said. “And we are here at this moment in time because we must answer a fundamental question: Who are we, who are we as Americans? So, let’s answer that question to the world. To each other. Right here. Right now. America, we are better than this.”

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