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Woodstock and Obama’s Inauguration

July 30th, 2011 · 12 Comments · Music, Politics, Real-life Adventure Tales, Weird Things About Me

Obama’s election night in New York City may have been my favorite single night / moment in 25+ years of living in Manhattan.
(You can read about it here: )

That feeling was extended to a week-long celebration in my second favorite city, Washington, D.C. — a home-game in the History League — And lo, the magic gushed up like fountains showering the city in love and soaking us in positive human accomplishment.

And of course I was in the middle of it, sending out daily dispatches from the front, and one of them struck the great writer and editor Holly George-Warren’s ears as she was working with Woodstock producer Michael Lang on his book.

The guy who envisioned and produced “Woodstock” — the concert that changed everything — used my words on the climactic page of his book about the festival.

Forty years later, the Wall Street Journal would refer to Obama’s inauguration as “Washington’s Woodstock.”  Experiencing the joy in coming together with a million celebrants on the Mall in Washington, a blogger named Brian Hassett put it this way:  “As it was happening, every single one of the people I met was beaming with joy.  In terms of a crowd euphoric, the only thing I ever heard of that was like this was Woodstock in ’69.  That changed our country a lot, but this time Woodstock was in the seat of power.  Jimi’s ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ was the prelude, and a scant forty years later, here’s that scorching soul of new thinking actually overtaking the reins of government.


from “The Road To Woodstock: From The Man Behind The Festival” by Michael Lang with Holly George-Warren.



Here are the original dispatches that the quote was taken from …



You can read 50 other Political Adventure Tales like this in my 2020 book Blissfully Ravaged in Democracy — Adventures in Politics — 1980–2020.

For an account of the most jubilant night in the history of New York — check the Election Night 2008 Adventure

For a night in New York that started out just as joyous — check out the Election Night 2004 Adventure.

Or speaking of Woodstock, here’s going to Yasgur’s farm with The Merry Pranksters.

For the kind of creations that got us across the historic finish line — check out my poem and video for Where Wayward Jekylls Hyde.

For an on-the-campaign-trail adventure — check out the physical altercation I was in the middle of with Al Franken at a Howard Dean rally.

For my tribute to another great political reporter — check out my Tim Russert tribute.

For a full listing of great reporters and news sources — check out my Political Sources Primer.

For how well these sources work — check out my 2012 election predictions.

… or here’s the 2008 projections — in both, I’m over 98% correct.  😉



Brian Hassett  —   —

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12 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Debbie Vazquez // Jul 30, 2011 at 11:35 AM

    Congratulations, Bri!!! That’s SO f’in cooool!!!!!

  • 2 Mitch Potter // Jul 30, 2011 at 11:45 PM

    You did a heroic job of reporting from the front. You should be proud — and it doesn’t surprise me at all that you ended up in books. But that you’re in a book about Woodstock is just too Brian-perfect! Well done, CentCom!

  • 3 Megan Reese // Jul 31, 2011 at 9:37 AM

    I was born at Woodstock! At least sort of. 😀
    That you connected these two spiritual moments of Hope and Change in America is beautiful … and so YOU !!! Love Love Love!
    Thank you for bringing both of them to life in my life!

  • 4 Albert Kaufman // Jul 31, 2011 at 9:09 PM

    Really enjoyed your original “dispatches” … and your predictions were spot-on … Again! You’re unreal!
    Maybe it’s time to get that book you wrote about Woodstock ’94 published. 😉
    Hop to it, Hunter.

  • 5 Walter Raubicheck // Jul 31, 2011 at 10:31 PM

    I went to the first Woodstock, but you made it to the second one. And I don’t mean ’94.
    Well done, my friend.

  • 6 Brian Hassett // Jul 31, 2011 at 11:31 PM

    Albert — I’ll get on that Woodstock book — but thanks for bringing up the predictions.

    Here’s the overall pre election predictions:

    Here’s how I called it in the sequence of poll closing times …“called”-by-hour-of-poll-closing/

    And here’s how the numbers played out …

  • 7 Whitney Gilmore Hauser // Aug 1, 2011 at 10:19 AM

    Your reports from the Inauguration were the best I read on it anywhere, by anybody. I forwarded them all around the world, and everyone in my office was talking about them every day. Thank you for being there and bringing it to life for all of us.
    I hope by the next election there’s a whole book of your quotes.
    Thanks again.

  • 8 Phil Wagner // Aug 1, 2011 at 9:33 PM

    Great — you and Michael Lang finally connected.

    Congratulations. Couldn’t happen to a more Yasgur guy.

  • 9 Melissa Clark // Aug 2, 2011 at 10:20 AM

    Hey! This is Grate! You deserve it.
    I loved your passion and enthusiasm the first time around. Nice to see it echo back in such a cool place!

  • 10 John Cassady // Aug 3, 2011 at 10:55 PM

    You’re the only guy who can get me to read about politics.
    Thanks for making it real.
    “Ive got to get back to the land and set my soul free.”

  • 11 Brian Humniski // Aug 9, 2011 at 10:21 PM

    Great quote!!

  • 12 Emmett Pratt // Jan 22, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    I was there yesterday ….. it wasn’t quite Woodstock like the first one, but it was definitely a Gathering of The Vibes. 😉
    Good times. Good quote.

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