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From Across Region, 10,000 Rally for Obama

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Sen. Barack Obama held a rally in Bristow, Va., on Thursday -- one of his first since becoming the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D) and Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) also took the stage.Video by Emily Freifeld/washingtonpost.com

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He then praised Kaine, who he noted was one of the first elected officials to endorse him "when a lot of people took a wait-and-see attitude."

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"When you're in the political business, there are a lot of people who are your allies, there are lot of people who you've got to do business with, but you don't always have a lot of friends. The governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia is my friend."

Earlier yesterday, he campaigned with former Virginia governor Mark R. Warner (D), a candidate for U.S. Senate, at a town hall meeting in Bristol in southwest Virginia.

The campaign had sent out e-mail alerts and posted fliers at Metro stops recruiting volunteers for the event at Nissan. More than 600 people responded and showed up at 11:45 a.m., sporting shirts in varying shades of green, as the campaign instructed.

Gina Bellamy, 46, told her boss that she felt sick and needed to take the rest of the day off. Bellamy, a school nurse in Prince William County, planned to leave work at noon, but when she heard reports that as many as 50,000 people were expected at the rally, she didn't want to chance it. So she left about 11 a.m.

"I even pulled my baby out of school, and I never do that," Bellamy said, referring to her 14-year-old daughter, Stephanie. "But she told her teachers the truth and said that she was going to see Obama."

"She doesn't get it, but one day, she is going to tell her kids about how her crazy mama dragged her to see Obama. I didn't just want her to watch it on TV. I wanted her to see this," Bellamy said.

Pamela Supanik, 48, of Fairfax County, said she went to the rally at Nissan Pavilion to be converted. Through the hard-fought campaign, she had supported Clinton (D-N.Y.) for the Democratic nomination.

"She was my candidate; now I need to educate myself about him," Supanik said of Clinton and Obama. "I'm here to see where he stands on the issues and whether anything he says resonates with me."

The rally drew people from across the region.

Anna Lee Clubb, 18, of Manassas cast her first ballot for Obama in the February primary. The Virginia Tech freshman was excited after hearing him speak in person for the first time yesterday. "Virginia is going to be important in the general election, and he's proven his policies are what we need," she said.

Wyman Robinson and his family caravanned from Maryland's Montgomery County. He packed three generations of relatives, ages 3 to 62, in two cars.


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