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L.A. Obama supporters gather to oppose Iraq war

October 2, 2007 |  8:40 pm

Presidential campaigns are designed not to miss any opportunity to garner free media publicity and get their repetitive messages of the day out to Americans, many of whom are not paying attention on any given day.

And what better way for Barack Obama to underscore his opposition to the Iraq war (and his Democratic opponents' initial support for it) than to use the fifth anniversary of his then little-noticed anti-Iraq war speech to speak out again, this time for nuclear disarmament. He spoke in Chicago today, where he spoke five years ago, denouncing a "dumb war" and a "rash war."

His campaign organized matching rallies in 17 other cities today including Westwood, where The Times' Robin Abcarian was in attendance. We'll have a full story on this website late tonight and in Wednesday's print editions.

The freshman senator's campaign has cited his early war opposition as proof that wisdom (his) trumps experience (Hillary Clinton's, John Edwards', Bill Richardson's, et al).

At the Federal Building in Westwood, about 125 people turned out under faultless skies for the anniversary gathering. Tobi L. Moree, a Pasadena woman who said her only child, Sterling Fletcher, is slated for deployment to Afghanistan with the Army Reserves next spring, read portions of Obama’s 2002 text.

Veteran actor James Whitmore, who discovered Obama after his wife, Noreen, made him read the senator’s two books, puffed genially on his pipe before stepping to the microphone.

“I was in the U.S. Marine Corps for eight years,” said Whitmore. “And I am here for the guys and the girls who are over there now. I am 86 years old and I have seen a lot of  politicians come and go, very often mercifully, go.

"And in all that crowd there was one element that was lacking…and it’s something that’s in very short supply, and that is wisdom. Human wisdom. Read (Obama's) books. That’s a good and caring and wise mind, and if ever the world, needed wisdom, it is now…Go Obama.”

--Andrew Malcolm