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. francesannecollins

    Thank God he's human! He does off the wall things like the rest of us!

    May 31, 2008 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  2. vince Chicago

    Rumor has it that Obama believes his head should be on Mt. Rushmore. He was told however that granite is not a dense enough material to acurately portray his head.

    May 31, 2008 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  3. JC

    Mt. Rushmore has become a tourist trap, now presidential candidate trap. Hopefully, the new president can do something about it.

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

    I like Obama. He feels real, while Hillary is too fake. She wants to be everything, but ends up being nothing.

    May 31, 2008 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  4. Melissa

    HA, that's funny! Nothing wrong with being human, though!

    May 31, 2008 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  5. D.

    And he wants to go to the White House too and I shall help him get there.

    May 31, 2008 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  6. CB

    My dad was involved in politics for over 30 years. The one thing he really enjoyed the most, was being able to meet so many wonderful people and see the country up close. Your love and appreciation for your country and people grows profoundly deeper. The more any candidate does this, the better.

    May 31, 2008 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  7. be gone to the redneck republic

    what i don't understand is the compromises i've heard argued that there might be half of the delegations seated, or each delegate will get .5 of a vote.

    say there were 120 delegates in all. if half the delegation is seated, the total delegates counted would be 60.

    but if each of the 120 delegate votes only counted for .5, then the total delegates counted would be....60.

    do you see what i'm saying? is this second compromise proposed simply to fill some delegates need to feel important enough to be seated?

    May 31, 2008 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  8. Rebecca

    Barrack, I'm sure they can make some ears for you so your face can be included one day. You just have to keep your word that you will get America back on the right track and get us out of the huge mess this country has found itself it. If you can do that you have a good shot of being included in this monument, or at least you will have a monument all to yourself.

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

    What a flexible president u will be..... never tired always there for your people!!

    Obama 08/12

    May 31, 2008 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  10. Kentuckian

    Sounds pretty down to earth. GO OBAMA GO!

    May 31, 2008 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  11. erik farbacher

    its refreshing to read a light hearted article during this election . Its nice to see we have a real person running for office. This is just another example , doing things because he wants to not because they are going to make the big head lines . I hope the people of this country can see past all the church stuff and race stuff and make the right choice. how many other canidates during an election just say they want to go and go with no crowds and possibly nothing to gain , but the joy of seeing something they have never seen before. Everyone always want to know why people support Mr. Obama . the answere is he is a real person , not born with a silver spoon in his mouth . If and when he is elected president I will be very very happy.

    May 31, 2008 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  12. joe

    Yes - Obama might want to start traveling a bit - to iraq as well - i can't imagine not having been to the places he hasn't been and claiming to be the expert on foreign affairs. Wow - so he has seen Mt. Rushore now, get him in office quick - what a worldly cool guy.

    May 31, 2008 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  13. Illinois

    A follower from health care, Iraq war, and now even a trip to Mountain Rushmore. I have no more idea about this Obama guy and his campaign. Let do on your own, do not just when so do st and you just do the same. So sad for the American people if this guy is elected!

    May 31, 2008 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  14. G at Dover, NH

    I'm an Obama supporter, and maybe I've been brainwashed by the whole movement, but it's stories like these that make me really like him. It's like he's not on some master plan since he was a kid to become president. It's like he's a regular guy and this campaign is work. Just like his staff, he needed a break and was curious, interested in seeing Mt. Rushmore.

    You know, if the President of the United States of America is just another guy, and he is, it should be anything but weird to see him, chat with him, and snap a photo. Isn't that what humility is all about?

    May 31, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  15. Anonymous

    In a letter addressed to the co-chairs of the rules committee, Clinton lawyer Lyn Utrecht said Friday the panel is compelled to seat both delegations from Florida and Michigan fully and not award Obama any delegates from Michigan.

    "It is a bedrock principle of our party that every vote must be counted, and thereby every elected delegate should be seated," Utrecht wrote.

    Just as long as as they voted for YOUR candidate, right?

    What could more transparently evil, calculating, opportunistic and political as this advocated "solution?"

    Katherine Harris is Hillary Clinton's role model and mentor.

    May 31, 2008 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  16. James , Houston, TX.

    Barak Obama is already Craving his Mug next to Teddy.
    Hi ho Sir, Talk about Mental Projections. Es Majate !

    May 31, 2008 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  17. Del

    I guess that says something about this man (Obama). He rolls with the team and is flexible. Who will have imagine McCain trying to put on a tie and suit or worse Hillary trying to finish gleaming her make up before joining the crew. And he was there already before the press! What a trip. I really enjoy this aspect of celebs and famous people when they get the media to relax and they make their move in calm. Obama is young and agile and is physically fit for a president. I can't wait to see the Media standing outside the door ways waiting on him to recap on an issue while he uses Marine 1 to escape from the back. LOL!
    By the way, any heads up as to Hillary Clinton will continue running today after the committee meets? I have been worrying what her next move will be, not that i am afraid the nomination will be seized from Obama but the fact that she iis a democrat makes me feel all democrats should be protective and be nice to her since she still remains one of our own. Lets not let republicans make a stunt out of her else it will all come back when she decides to run again sometime in the future. I hope they too listen and know they are still some good Obama supporters out there who still think of them despite their fearless approach to this primary season.
    Will like to know what the committee decides. I still believe in Obama/Clinton tkt (now if only she will know the meaning of a VP and not split the government into left and LIE wing).

    May 31, 2008 09:29 am at 9:29 am |

    The Democratic Party has been split down the middle, gas prices are over 4$ per gallon, the Iraq war costs are incomprehensible, insurance costs are through the roof, people are losing their homes because of the mortgage crisis, we cannot afford to send our kids to college, food costs are high as hell, and Barack Obama is standing on a mountain taking pictures with rangers and talking about his big head and big ears!!! AND THE MAIN STREAM MEDIA IS "SWOONING" OVER HIM.

    Only in America!!!

    May 31, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  19. JoJo

    Go Team OBAMA!! We are behind you 100%-every step of the way!!! You will be the next POTUS!!!! You will prevail when the RBC meeting is over!! YES WE CAN!!!! WE LOVE YOU!!!

    May 31, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  20. Silvia

    CNN reporting on the DNC meeting in D.C. should inform viewers that the visual image of protesters outside the Washington Hotel where the delegates are meeting is misleading. It appears that only Clinton supporters care enough to protest. Obama, on the other hand, urged his own supporters not to protest in order to avoid dividing the Party. Hillary Clinton mobilized her supporters to strong-arm the Party. She has also mobilized Florida and Michigan voters. These voters were not riled up about the Democratic Party's decision not to seat Florida and Michigan when the decision was made back in December....In fact, Harold Ickes a superdelegate and on Clinton's campaign ,voted to punish the Florida and Michigan delegations. Clinton's so called "loyalists" are out there now because they were mobilized under false statements as to Clinton's alleged "lead" in the popular vote–or whatever the goal post happens to be. ENOUGH!

    May 31, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  21. nobama

    I am so sick of Obama's arrogant attitude and empty speeches. Obama and all of his silly supporters are such cry-babies, always screaming "racism" everytime anyone questions Obama as a suitable candidate for the highest position in the US. This priest incident is just another example of how Obama is NOT what he presents himself to be. There is NOTHING special about Obama. He is extremely arrogant, inexperienced, he's a racist, a hypocrite and a traitor, and oh yeah, also a sexist. I can only imagine the uproar if it would been MacCain the one to call a female reporter "sweetie" like Obama did. How can I vote for someone that ditched his Pastor/mentor/spiritual adviser/friend just to get more votes??? How can anybody trust such a hypocrite? Although I do not agree with Reverend Wright's views, I feel sorry for him for being so humilitated and discarded by Obama simply to get more votes. It is so apparent that the only reason Obama has gotten this far is because he is black . Obama has gotten almost ALL of the African-American vote. If that is not blatant racism , I don't know what is. His supporters treat him as he were their long-awaited Messiah. And his speeches? Oh please: Blah, Blah, Blah, change, blah blah, change, blah, change, blah, blah BLAH... I am so sick of the word "change"!!!!!!!! Well, Obama supporters, "change" is NOT necessarily a good thing. Obama has the huge potential to "change" this country's dire situation from bad to worse. I, along with MILLIONS of voters do not trust Obama and WILL NOT VOTE FOR HIM.

    May 31, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  22. Charlotte

    Obalegerwright is a follower, we know that. He seldom has an idea of his own.

    May 31, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  23. heatmiser

    At least his sense of humor can at times be self-deprecating, unlike HRC who, while having a fine sense of humor, has shown she cannot stand humor directed at her, by herself or anyone else. Somehow that makes me feel better about a person, if they have the ability to not take themselves too seriously. I think that in a crisis that type of person wouldn't have a meltdown.

    May 31, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  24. Laidetea

    Some day I would like to visit Mt. Rushmore.

    May 31, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |

    I watfched the Anderson Cooper piece the other night about Senator Obama's campaign tactics in "Chicago". Could someone please explain to me what happened to the tenants in the Chicago federally subsidized housing project who had to go without heat because Rezko did not pay the gas bills, then he helped Senator Obama purchase a "mansion" for Senator Obama and his family. Can you talk about that CNN and Anderson Cooper??


    May 31, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
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