A reader writes:

I went to hear Barack Obama speak tonight in San Francisco. The crowd was huge, the lines were long, and (reportedly) the Secret Service was slowing things down by searching everyone exhaustively at the door.  It was painfully obvious that I probably wasn’t going to be admitted in time to hear the speech.

Then the police cleared the street next to the one I was waiting on, putting up “do not cross” tape.  Childishly, I thought “I may not get in to hear the speech, but at least I’ll see the motorcade”.  When the motorcade did come roaring down the street, it suddenly stopped.

Someone had told Senator Obama that huge lines of supporters had little or no hope of getting in to the main event. He left his motorcade, walked on foot down the street towards the crowd, and gave a ten minute impromptu speech for those waiting in line.

And it wasn’t fluff, either - he unequivocally promised to close Guantanamo and restore habeas corpus and the constitution. A small thing, maybe, but a major contrast with his main competitor’s unconcern with tipping her waitperson.

Another minor point - I have read in more than one place that older African-Americans are reluctant to vote for Obama because they believe that if nominated, he will be assassinated. I wish they could have seen the Secret Service as they accompanied Obama tonight. They were the most intimidating sight I ever saw. I had no doubt whatsoever that they were totally prepared to either die in the senator’s defense or shoot me on sight if I appeared to pose a threat. Nothing on earth would have induced me to provoke them.