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Lines to the horizon

Long lines - Lawson Kurtz/The Chronicle

The Obama rally in Raleigh today brought out a massive crowd. About 28,000 showed up to see the Democratic candidate speak just six days before the Big Day. But perhaps thousands more who couldn't get in to the mall stayed loyally to hear Obama's voice reverberate through speakers placed strategically around the confines.

Throngs of hopeful attendees, bundled in heavy coats and scarves, meshed into several loose lines that wrapped around the mall. Though some gave up early and found choice spots close to speakers, many stood patiently in line until officials deemed no more bodies could be squeezed in.

"We gave up. We didn't get downtown until about 10:30 [a.m.].... We walked to where the line was still about four more blocks long, and that's when we turned around, and I said, 'Well, at least we can get closer and listen," said Rebecca Lopez from Raleigh, who brought her six-year-old daughter to the rally.

Announced only a couple days prior, the event today drew many Triangle residents on a spur-of-the-moment decision. Kolt Lmulm, who did not vote for Obama in early voting, said he heard about the rally Wednesday morning and came from his work downtown to check out the event. Several others also told The Chronicle they came with a group of co-workers from their offices down the street (the rally was held at the Halifax Mall in downtown Raleigh). And students at Broughton High School in Raleigh said they were excused to attend the rally, many hearing about it only this morning.

Check out this photo slideshow by Lawson Kurtz for pictures of Obama at the podium and, of course, the crowd.

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