Obama Inauguration watching parties held around town

01/20/09 Seán Kinane
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At least six inauguration-watching parties occurred throughout the Tampa Bay area today. More than 1,000 enthusiastic supporters watched President Barack Obama deliver his inaugural address on the screen of the Tampa Theatre. Nearly 200 people watched at the Bible Based Fellowship Church in Carrollwood. WMNF’s Seán Kinane has this report.

Before the church aired television coverage of Obama taking the oath of office, a panel discussed the future of America under the new president. One of the panelists, retired Judge Perry Little, says the people celebrating today will still have to work for change.

Another panelist, Gonzolo Cruz, is the pastor of the first Free Methodist Hispanic Church in Tampa. He says issues like education, healthcare, and morality are important, but jobs and immigration must also be addressed by the new Obama administration. Cruz was translated by Sara Perez.

Democratic Party political consultant Bob Buckhorn says that Obama was elected through grassroots support from outside the system and he has to continue to use that support to pass measures that some may not like or consider too centrist.

Dorothy Johnson watched the inauguration celebrations at Bible Based Fellowship Church. After the panel discussion she said she wants to see youth get more opportunities.

Sitting a few rows in front of Dorothy Johnson, Theresa Henry says that an Obama presidency could bring much-needed changes to the country.

Across town at Tampa Theatre, nearly filled to capacity, more than 1,000 people sat and stood to watch Obama’s inaugural address, and cheered when he said the United States was “ready to lead once more.”

Before Obama’s speech, the controversial preacher Rick Warren performed the invocation. The evangelical Warren is an opponent of abortion and same-sex marriage and supported California’s recent gay marriage ban. Riverview resident Tracy Copes originally opposed the fact that Obama chose Warren, but had a slight change of heart after hearing what Warren said.

Patrick Flanary says he hopes Obama “is brave enough to champion gay equality, gay rights, gay marriage,” but seemed fine with Reverend Warren’s speech.

The Tampa Theatre audience cheered when Obama pledged to “defeat” terrorists.

The several dozen people remaining at the historic theatre cheered when footage was aired of former President George W. Bush departing on the “Executive One” helicopter, which is only called “Marine One” when the current president is on board.

Tampa Theatre

Bible Based Fellowship Church

text of Obama’s inauguration speech

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