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. rachel

    following Hillary again.

    May 31, 2008 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  2. H


    HILLARY 08

    May 31, 2008 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  3. Alyn

    I actually think this is a cool story CNN.
    It's different.......
    Love Obama's ear comment.....very funny and humble man.
    He very well MAY be on Mt. Rushmore one day.

    May 31, 2008 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  4. Doreen Augusta Maine

    I want to see photo of this visit. Sounds neat.

    May 31, 2008 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  5. Austrian

    thus news

    May 31, 2008 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  6. Generation X

    Relax Obama, this is near the end. Next week, Obama will be the Democratic nominee. Yahoo

    May 31, 2008 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  7. warren smith

    i think thiw is great
    at least it was not a photo opor.
    it shows me that he is a patroic
    a good american

    May 31, 2008 07:50 am at 7:50 am |

    3 MORE DAYS OVER MATH 101 WILL HAVE IT GO OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 31, 2008 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  9. s.boatman warrensburg mo.

    Obama, Im So Glad You Are Going To Be Our Next President! Yes We Can!

    May 31, 2008 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  10. white middle aged woman FOR OBAMA

    That would be something to meet up with our future president that time of night at Mt. Rushmore, I would have jumped at the chance to shake his hand and get a picture.

    May 31, 2008 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  11. white middle aged woman FOR OBAMA

    -Sorry I wasn't finished-

    I'm sure if people had known he was going to be there, there would have been a crowd !

    May 31, 2008 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  12. Sylvia Johnsen

    It's nice to see Obama out campaigning again, doing what he did the whole beginning – copying Clinton, saying and doing what she does the day after. It's an admission of sort: This race is not over!

    On Tuesday Obama will celebrate victory in his very own "Mission Accomplished 2"-rally. Obama is trying to push opponent out before election day at the convention. It's easy to win without opposition. Obama is a thug, he's done it before. The only rule Obama is not willing to follow is the higher rule of democracy itself: One voter, one vote!

    May 31, 2008 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  13. Saif (Minnesota)

    Shouldn't it be simple. Player A and Player B agreed to play a game called Game C with the rules of the game described to both A and B. Changing the rules in the middle of the game would be not only UNFAIR but HIGHLY UNETHICAL, dont you think so?

    May 31, 2008 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  14. Independant Thinker

    He probably just wanted top see how his face would look up there with the those great presidents.

    May 31, 2008 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  15. Terry in Fl

    Once again. Following someone else. Hillary went so he had to go too. Does he think it's going to help?

    May 31, 2008 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  16. Judy

    I don't think your ego would fit either, Barack. Pretty audacious to even comment on it when you are not officially a candidate, let alone the President. You're starting to sound more and more like George W. Let's hope you won't be an instant replay.

    May 31, 2008 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  17. Umpire

    He was checking to see if Hillary had already had her head carved, obliterating George Washington if necessary. Don't think she didn't consider it!

    May 31, 2008 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  18. Willy

    Is he looking for a new rent a preacher there?

    May 31, 2008 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  19. David, Paducah, Kentucky

    Obama probably wanted to make sure that Hillary didn't have someone up there chipping her image into the side of the mountain.

    May 31, 2008 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  20. bernice

    I love him.

    May 31, 2008 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  21. Ron

    It continues to show how approachable Senator Obama is and I believe, in the short term, it will make him a better president. Eventually, all presidents seems to get out of touch because of the bubble that they exist within and every event they attend is staged. For how, we have a person that is seeking the highest office that continues to be open, curious, and shows that he still puts his pants on the same way all of us do every day. Whether that will make him a good president is yet to be seen but I am willing to give him that change come November.

    May 31, 2008 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  22. A Combat Vet's Observation

    There is no question in the minds of great men and women that the vote in Florida and Michigan should be counted as voted.

    Why not?

    If it is not counted here and accurately why should the states votes count in November? That is the line the Republicans will and should use.

    So to blunt that attack, I suggest the all votes be counted as voted.
    and let the chips fall as they may

    It is the AMERICAN WAY to count all the Votes.

    May 31, 2008 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  23. white woman for Obama

    Obama will make a great and awesome president! We are rooting for you Barack Obama and we are ready to welcome you in our living rooms and our lives. We look forward to having you lead us into a peaceful decade filled with prosperity and success. We look forward to having openness in our goverment. I truly believe with all my heart that Obama will be an amazing and unforgettable president that the world will be talking about for decades to come.

    May 31, 2008 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  24. Corey

    No modern president even comes close to the American forefathers, so in a nutshell, no Obama, you won't see your head up there.

    May 31, 2008 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  25. Jay in Chicago

    People on the committee should look at the big picture when deciding michigan and florida. A very substantive argument can be made that Obama for all purposes is the democratic nominee. In the 48 sanctioned states by the DNC there is no question he has outperformed Hillary Clinton. She knew Michigan and Florida wouldn't count and here we are, with Obama ahead by 200 or so delegates and needing under 40 to wrap this up. Hillary should have long since bowed out gracefully because her playing this dangerous game is only hurting the democratic party.

    May 31, 2008 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
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