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Obama supporters hold counter rally

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Mayor R.T. Rybak of Minneapolis at an Obama rally
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak of Minneapolis speaks at a Barack Obama support rally in Peavey Plaza Friday. Obama was not present.
MPR Photo/Curtis Gilbert

As Republican presidential candidate John McCain addressed a crowd of 10,000 in Blaine, Democrats held a counter-rally in downtown Minneapolis in support of presidential candidate Barack Obama. 

Organizers put the crowd in Peavey Plaza at 3,500, and noted that they drew that number even though Obama wasn't there. 

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak blamed Republican free-market principles for the current turmoil in the financial markets. And he blasted McCain for being a long-time supporter of deregulation.

Minneapolis mayor, R.T. Rybak, at an Obama rally
Officials estimate 3,500 people attended a noontime rally in downtown Minneapolis in support of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, even though Obama was not there.
MPR Photo/Curtis Gilbert

"That's what John McCain -- 20 years ago, 10 years ago, five years ago, one year ago, one week ago -- he thought that having no regulation would work. How is that working out for you today?" Rybak said. 

Obama's Minnesota state director Jeff Blodgett said the economy has been an important issue for a long time, but recent events have put it into sharp focus.

Blodgett said now that the sizzle of the Republican National Convention is over, voters want to hear what McCain is saying about the economy.

"They spent a lot of time on personalities, and a lot of time on attacks and a lot of time on distractions," said Blodgett. "Now it's time to find out if he has anything to say to hurting middle class families in Minnesota. And from what he's said all week, that the fundamentals of the economy are strong, I doubt we'll hear anything of the kind." 

Other speakers at the "Rally to Restore the Economy" included DFL House Speaker Margaret Kelliher and U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison.