Barack Obama will not be holding a rally in Madison on Thursday, October 23 as was announced last Friday. "We got a message earlier this afternoon from the organizer saying that they were going to cancel the event," says Laura Whitmore, the community relations coordinator for the Madison Parks Division.
The rally was to be held on the southeast face of the Capitol Square, with Barack Obama speaking to an audience assembled on Main Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. with the Wisconsin Capitol as a backdrop. These details were discussed at a Madison Street Use Staff Team meeting last Friday. However, this afternoon, the Obama campaign made a phone call to city community events coordinator Kelli Lamberty notifying her that they would no longer be holding the rally in Madison.
Buzz about the rally had been building over the weekend. The local campaign had started to recruit volunteers, and Obama supporters in and outside of Madison were busy making plans to attend it.
Like many who work downtown, Ann Sweeney was planning on attending with co-workers, along with a former colleague who now works in Dodgeville. "She was going to take the day off, and we were going to trek up to the Obama rally," she says. The co-worker was disappointed upon learning of the cancellation, she explained, but they took heart in a photo from the recent rally in St. Louis where 100,000 people turned out to see Obama.
The Obama campaign announced Monday night that the candidate would canceling stops in Madison and Des Moines late in the week to visit his ailing grandmother Madelyn Payne Dunham in Hawai'i, and that he plans to return to campaigning on Saturday.