It is 7.30am on the day of the New Hampshire presidential primary. The polls say Obama and McCain will win tonight. Time will tell. The temperature outside is just about freezing, but that makes it unseasonably warm. In the main plaza of downtown Manchester, a crowd of people has gathered—entirely orchestrated by the several campaigns. The aim is to create a crowd, with signs, which will form the backdrop to this morning’s recording of Good Morning America on television station ABC. In keeping with the relative sense of energy around the various campaigns, the most visible presence comes from those supporting Barack Obama. And the slogan you will hear most often? The crowd yell repeatedly: “Fired up! Ready to go.” (Generally it is heard with one person leading the chant – Q: “Are you all FIIIREEEED UP???” – with the hope that the crowd will repeat it back.)
The story behind how this slogan came to be is told by Obama himself often, at campaign stops, to explain how it become the rallying cry for his campaign, while this video from the Wall Street Journal gives more background. If Obama wins, you can expect to hear a lot more of this; it may well join “It’s the economy, stupid” in the pantheon of America’s best-known political slogans.