The Obama Party

The scene there last night.

By 9pm at Scholz Garten, Austin political and sports fans had merged into one high-energy party. The Texans for Obama watched election returns alongside a celebratory contingent of burnt-orange-clad basketball fans, fresh from attending the Texas Longhorns’ 70-66 win over the Nebraska Cornhuskers two blocks away. Sport as politics, politics as sport; after a few beers, it appeared all the same to many revelers.

Watching as the Texas election “score” became a 49% to 49% nail-biter at 9:30pm was that inseparable city hall duo, council members Mike Martinez and Lee Leffingwell. Each had voted at his neighborhood caucus, prior to heading over to the politically storied beer garden. Joining them was Mayor Will Wynn, escorted by a lovely blonde from Dallas. Leffingwell and Matt Curtis, a former Wynn aide, both reminisced about first meeting Obama during his Senate race, in Gary Mauro’s back yard, on a scorching hot summer afternoon. “I thought he was one of the best speaker’s I’d ever heard,” said Leffingwell. “For the first time in my life – and I was raised in politics – listening to a candidate speak made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck,” Curtis reminisced.

Inside Scholtz’s, Blanton Museum of Art curator Annette Carlozzi shared her decision-making process. “For a while, I thought I had to vote for Hillary,” she said. But then she’d focused on the respective cabinets that Clinton and Obama might assemble: “I thought an Obama cabinet would be a new group, one that might offer some new solutions.” Her other main concern: “How the world looks at the U.S right now. Without question, other countries will be excited and embracing of the U.S. for having chosen him. He represents a willingness to reconsider past diplomatic decisions.”
Carlozzi’s son, Danny Zigal, arrived to join her table. A U.T. student, the 19-year-old admitted that he hadn’t registered in time to vote in his first presidential primary. He’d meant to go do it, he’d planned to register with friends, but well …. His politically savvy mother gave him a no-nonsense glare. “But you are going to be registered in time for November, right?”

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Election 2008, 2008 Primaries, Will Wynn, Lee Leffingwell, Mike Martinez, Obama, Scholz Garten

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