May 31st, 2008
05:18 AM ET
14 years ago

Obama tags along on trip to Mt. Rushmore

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Sen. Obama tours Mt. Rushmore into the late night hours."] KEYSTONE, South Dakota (CNN) - Everyone in Barack Obama's traveling press entourage thought it was just a late night jaunt to Mt. Rushmore, sans the candidate.

Since Obama is planning no events at the popular tourist destination on his two-day swing through the Rushmore State, about 30 members of the media and his staff decided to check out the monument on their own after the work day was over.

But press were informed at about 10:15 PM local time - midway through the 30 minute bus ride to the site - that the White House hopeful would be meeting up with them and would be at the base of the mountain ahead of time.

Some members of the media had not come on the trip, since everyone had assumed it was an Obama-less evening to relax.

Traveling spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters after the stop concluded that Communications Director Robert Gibbs had informed the senator a group of people were making the trip. Obama's response: "I want to go, too."

It was his first trip to the national park. Earlier in the week, rival Hillary Clinton made her own trip to the famous monument.

After being shown around the site by a ranger, Obama turned to his press corps and asked them what they thought of the view. One reporter asked if he'd like to see himself up there someday.

"I don't think my ears would fit," he said. "There's only so much rock up there."

"There's something about seeing it at night that's spectacular."

He then asked a few of the rangers assembled nearby if they wanted to take a picture with him.

The only tourists around at this point were a couple visiting from New York. They did not approach the senator from Illinois.

Asked what they thought of running into Barack Obama at almost 11 o'clock on a Friday night in the Black Hills of South Dakota? One word sums it up.

"This is weird," one of the two said. The press would probably have agreed at that point.

"Can we take pictures of him?" the woman continued. "This is so weird, but awesome!"

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (75 Responses)
  1. johann frm singapore

    okay obama goes visiting some monument big deal.
    i bet hillary fans would make a mountain out of a molehill about this

    May 31, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  2. Kay-Arizona

    When I saw the picture of Hillary Clinton at Mount Rushmore, the thought went through my mind "wonder how long it will be before Barack Obama shows up there as well."

    For the past 5 months Barack Obama has said what Hillary says and done what Hillary does. 99% of her positions on issues have ended up being his positions. She has done the work and he has been given the credit which includes the "change' theme for his campaign which she had been saying for months.

    May 31, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  3. Jim

    Who cares???

    May 31, 2008 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  4. Roselle

    Copycat! Everything good he's done he's learnt from Hillary. The bad stuff comes from his own self. What a sad state to be in!

    Please Hillary win those delegates!!

    May 31, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  5. Herman in LA

    CNN you never post my comments why? please post my comments....

    Yep, it was so weird that knowing that a black man could potentially lead this country for the first time after 200 years of having a white presidents to lead this country that was built on the backs of blacks and after being slaves from 1654 until 1865, slavery for life was legal within the boundaries of the present United States were Most slaves were black and were held by whites.

    Some might say that the priest comment where racist but if you look at it in the context of what his message was all about then you could understand just what he was saying and it's true.

    Now have we come a long ways yes we have because most whites today don't share or have these same feeling as they did back in the days of slavery. All one have to do is take a look at Barack Obama mother she was as white as they will ever come and look at what she did, she married a black man and Barack was born. And to that demise we now have a future president who can change America and the world from what one thinks of ones color of skin and focused on what we do all have in common rather than what we don't.

    May 31, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  6. Asif

    "The only tourists around at this point were a couple visiting New York. They did not approach the senator from Illinois."
    I will not approach a new yorker after night fall either! Those guys are faster than lightning. Last time i was there, i ran into sniper fire in broad daylight. Imagine what they will do to you @ 11 o'clock on a Friday night in the Black Hills of South Dakota? Obama should thank God they never approached him. Next time make sure your team of secret service sweeps the hills before you make a surprise visit. By the way, its a good thing the press showed up, Obama might have been under a sniper fire!

    May 31, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  7. The Truth

    He would add extra dignity to the mountain....
    America is fully supporting you...and ready for you to lead this great country!

    OBAMA '08!

    May 31, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  8. White & Old Midwest Female

    Glad he got to view that. I have no doubts that his head will be up there in the distant future 🙂 He's a very significant leader and a real history maker.

    May 31, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  9. Brian Knoxville, TN


    You're such a wanna be.

    You think you're fooling people into thinking that you have the political skills to win a general campaign or the qualifications to be President of the United States, but you're not.

    Even now, with what little any of us really knows about your and your short and all-too-insignificant political career, you're only fooling a little less than half the Democratic Party.

    If the Party makes you the nominee, it would be a gamble at best. (I won't even say what it would be at worst.)

    You're smart enough to know that your candidacy was way too premature and that going with you would be a gamble at best and could potentially destroy the Democratic Party as a result of you losing in November. But, then again, you've never let anything else come before you and your own advancement (see your unethical behavior in using the rules to cut your Democratic competitors out of the race for state Senate in the 1996). So I guess you can care less about the Party or the country.

    Well, the rest of us do care.

    And you should be ashamed of yourself.


    May 31, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  10. Steve from California

    The Black Hills are sacred to many native people in this country. The Mt. Rushmore Monument, with the faces of four U.S. Presidents, is considered an insult by these people. Americans should visit this site but should also try to learn something about the monument, the Black Hills and the native people of the area.

    May 31, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  11. vic nashville,Tn

    Ha ha now only learning the history
    First you have learn how many states in USA

    May 31, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  12. Justin

    You'll be up there Mr. President, even if we have to ship in more rock

    May 31, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  13. The O

    What is this Brother O the Moon light. he he he


    BARACK THE VOTE!!!!!!!!

    May 31, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  14. theo

    Let me guess, his grandfather carved the mountain!! Better yet, he probably thinks his "accomplishments" and "judgment" warrant a place on the hill. Don't elect this phony snakeoil salesman.

    May 31, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  15. Charlotte

    I was reading the Pfleger blog and was surprised by the number of educated Obalegerwright supporters who are unaware of the Catholics leagues critisim of Hagee? These are the so called educated voters? Educated, yet not informed? Obalegerwright is a liar and very disloyal to his friends for political gain. Is there anyone he won't throw under the bus? We now have two 20 year friendships under the bus and his white grandmother. How can you know someone 20 years and not have a clue as to their thoughts on matters? You can be fooled about some things, but not the basics!

    May 31, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  16. Oh brother...

    ...anything for a photo-op, right Obama? I bet he'd crawl under a rock in the Grande Canyon if a camera and reporter was there...

    May 31, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  17. fred

    Ain't that sweet...his ugly mug will never be there...he will never win!!

    They need to make a new one of idiots of the democratic party with Howard Dean, Donna Barzill and Obama!!!

    May 31, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  18. Alex, USMC

    You know, seeing as how there's very little in the way of arguable content here, perhaps we can agree not to be vitrolic on this one story. There's room for one thread without a lot of anger between various candidate supporters, right?

    May 31, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  19. BettiH, Indianapolis, IN

    Either one of the candidates will hit a historic time in history, qand needs to be added to Mount Rushmore. The first african american president or the first woman president. God forbid it be Hillary Clinton, but the first woman or black man deserves it.

    May 31, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  20. Alphonse Moneau

    Senator Obama is great! He is awasome! He is the man of people. He can be any time anywhere. This is the kind of president people can identify with. His life story, his life style, is ordinary people's life story and life style. He is no different; he is no hero who believes to be above everybody else or entitled to something special.
    Go Obama!

    May 31, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  21. starfire426, Salem VA

    This picture speaks for itself...the presidential hopeful and the former presidents carved in stone...all great statesmen.

    May 31, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  22. Tracy

    This photo op is demonstrative of Obama's arrogance and why many democrats like myself do not like him and certainly won't vote for him.

    May 31, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  23. Bill from Ca

    True leader...

    He has run the most gracious campaign I seen in decades..
    Barack Obama set a bar that was very high for himself but he mustarded the call and is a true leader..worthy to be President of these United States of America..

    America will be the benefactor for his serve to us all...

    May 31, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  24. odongo victor


    May 31, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  25. Jesse

    But will he go to Iraq?

    Will he meet with Petreaus?

    McCain has a point. Obama will meet with Kim Jong Il & Mahmoud Ahmadinejad but refused to meet General Patreaus on his visit two years ago,

    This is the same guy who chairs the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations' Subcommittee on Europe but not held one meeting.

    Don't trust Obama. Get away from your adoration of his celebrity. ELect a real leader.

    Obama isn't it.

    May 31, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
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