Cong. Danny Davis doubted Obama win–at first

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Cong. Danny K. Davis, D-7th, wasn’t surprised that U.S. Sen. Barack Obama was on the precipice of becoming the country’s first African American president. But Davis is surprised at how quickly the ascent occurred.

Cong. Danny K. Davis, D-7th, wasn’t surprised that U.S. Sen. Barack Obama was on the precipice of becoming the country’s first African American president. But Davis is surprised at how quickly the ascent occurred.

“I never had a problem with the idea that he would become president one day, but if someone had asked me to place a wager on his becoming president at this juncture, I would have said give it another four years or even eight years depending on the circumstances,” said Davis, a six-term incumbent.

When asked to describe Obama’s rise, Davis tried “phenomenal,” “unbelievable,” “an uncharacteristic meteoric rise,” before settling on “it is too hard to describe.”

Equally amazing for the West Side congressman is the fundraising component of the Obama campaign that raised an unprecedented $603 million. Illinois residents tossed in $30.04 million of that but were trumped by the $48 million New York residents contributed. That total was second to Californians $79 million in contributions, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Davis explained that the contribution totals were even more impressive when one realized that, “This was grassroots money, in terms of money coming from a vast array of individuals who don’t necessarily have the same kind of individualized self-interest but have the public interest at heart. “If the public interest is taken care of, then I benefit.

If the pollution is reduced, then my kids don’t have as many asthma attacks. You don’t have to give me a personal job or a personal scholarship, you just have to give me clean air, and, therefore, I can breathe easier and maybe live longer. So I think the public interest has a much greater chance of being served because people are going to be looking for Barack Obama to project and promote the public interest.

“Now everybody knows there is no way to keep some private concerns or smaller interests to creep into the public arena and be a part of the decision making, but by and large, what I am going to be looking for from Barack Obama is broad public interest policy, broad public interest activity that is designed to improve the hopes, aspirations, opportunities and quality of life for a large number of people.”

Meanwhile, he said Obama was drawing record crowds close to the election “because something good and wholesome was taking place in America, and they wanted to be a part of that good and wholesome activity.”

To reinforce the good and wholesome position, Davis said although he hadn’t planned on going to an Obama inauguration, his constituents have asked him to coordinate a trip to Washington, D.C., for the swearing-in.

The Congressman also said he hopes an Obama presidency will change cynicism many Black people have about the government and public service.

“But there has to be effort put forth, and there has to be a way created to keep these young people involved,” he said.

“There has to be a way to capture the enthusiasm that has been generated. Barack will have to pull that out of a hat.

“He will have to look hard at FDR (President Franklin D. Roosevelt), the New Deal, the Great Society and pull from those the concepts that can help more Americans move forward,” said Davis.

 ______ Copyright 2008 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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