Obama Photos: NH Campaign Trail
It was moments like this, and moments smaller, that I’ll never forget. Playing basketball with him in a high-school gym before a rally, watching a college football game with the staff, or sitting in a hotel room telling him about my fiancé … Those moments taught me about the quality of the man–not as a politician, a campaigner, or now a president, but as a person.
So I answer that question, “Yes, he’s the real thing.”
At these campaign events, I often saw Ken Burns, the filmmaker who has chronicled the span of American history, from Lewis and Clark to the Civil War to jazz to World War II. I’d think how interesting this campaign must be through his eyes, to know that he was watching the next chapter of American history as it crisscrossed his home state. His documentary on the Civil War shows a photograph of Lincoln walking off the stage after delivering the Gettysburg Address; the photographer had missed a shot of the speech because of its brevity. I think of that photographer, now long dead, who witnessed history through his lens and most likely at the time didn’t realize how momentous an event he had just documented. I’m perhaps not too unlike him. But I tried to keep in the front of my mind, at every speech and every stop along the road, how important it was for me to document this very real man’s campaign for the White House.
And then, almost a year later, I stood in my voting booth casting my ballot for the senator for whom I’d worked and had so much respect–and I felt the myth creeping back in–as though the full weight of American history were leaning upon him, forcing him to face these uncertain times as more than himself, as next in a line of iconic American presidents, stretching back into the fog of our collective heroic mythology.
But I can look back at a photograph I have of the senator and myself that was taken in Nashua, and I feel confident that in whatever direction we need to go as a country, he’ll take us there with compassion and humanity. And I can rest easier knowing, firsthand, that he’s the real thing.
SLIDE SHOW: More of Tim Llewellyn’s photos of the Obama campaign in New Hampshire