Senator Obama's visit to Cleveland is described by the Zanesville Times Recorder:
Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama finished an early campaign swing through this politically pivotal state Monday with a rally that had the energy of an election eve.
The Illinois senator fired up a young crowd of both supporters and the politically curious with promises of a new vision and widespread change in policies at home and overseas.
More than 1,700 people filled a community college gymnasium in suburban Cleveland with chants of "O-bama!" and a large banner overhead read "Obama Rocks!" A drumline warmed up the crowd before he spoke, and a local marching band kept the celebration going as Obama shook hands while leaving the stage.
Thousands more watched his 30-minute speech from several overflow rooms. The campaign estimated the entire crowd at 7,000.
"The turnout exceeded all expectations, and I've got to say this is how we roll these days," Obama said of his strongly embraced early campaign stops. In a dark suit and blue tie, he spoke and carried himself as if the 2008 election weren't all that far away.
Earlier in the day, he told supporters in Columbus that he decided to run now - about 10 years ahead of his personal timetable - because he saw a unique moment when people are listening and wanting change in the direction of the country.
Obama told reporters after the event that Ohio's problems are not unlike other places, and that he's begun campaigning early so people will know his plans for manufacturing renewal, improved public education and better health care.
"I'm going to be spending a lot of time in Ohio so that people are familiar with me, so that by the time I'm the Democratic nominee they don't feel like I'm just parachuting in but that they've heard me and had a chance to kick the tires and lift the hood," he said.
In his three stops to the state's largest cities in his first visit to Ohio for his campaign, he covered a wide range of topics, including ending the war in Iraq - which received the loudest cheer at the Cleveland-area rally - developing universal health care and improving early childhood education.....I hope that I can see Sen. Obama when he visits Ohio again. I think he can provide leadership and hope for all of us.