Obama's Election Night Plans

CBS Channel 2 TV in Chicago has reported on the Obama Campaign's plans to host a huge victory party in Chicago's Grant Park on election-day evening. This could be a problem.

Jay Levine reports:

"It's not a done deal yet, but all indications are that campaign officials are leaning toward Hutchinson Field on the south end of Grant Park as the site of their election night party.

The field is home to softball diamonds, the popular summer Lollapalooza music festival and was the site of the mass pope John Paul held in Chicago nearly 30 years ago.

If Grant Park is chosen as the venue, it would not be the first big outdoor event for Obama. He announced his presidential run outside the old state capitol in Springfield on a very cold day last February and gave his nomination acceptance speech at Denver's Mile High Stadium.

CBS 2 first reported last month that Grant Park was on Obama campaign officials' shortlist. They tentatively decided on it late last week. The negotiations with the city and park district have begun. Security arrangements are reportedly starting to take shape, and Mayor Richard M. Daley reportedly said it was a great idea."

Great idea, your Honor?

If you were a conscious adult in the summer of 1968, Grant Park carries distinctive memories of a riot between Chicago police and the Friends of Bill Ayers -- philosophically, not literally -- at least not all of them.    

If Obama loses the election, what will Grant Park look like on the evening of November 4?

If Obama wins the election, what will Grant Park look like on the evening of November 4?

In June 1997, the Chicago Bulls won the N.B.A. Championship. The New York Times described the aftermath.

"In the emergency room in Christ Hospital in Chicago last June 13, four doctors watched the Bulls finish off the Utah Jazz for the National Basketball Association title. The moment the buzzer sounded, the doctors were inundated with the sounds of celebration, Chicago style: they listened not to cheering, but to their beepers chirping simultaneously, alerting them to the first incoming casualties of the Bulls' fifth title in seven years.

Welcome to N.B.A. championship night, the only United States sports event with a body count.

The doctors rushed to meet the ambulances, one of which carried an 11-year-old boy, Colin Burns. The boy's left eye had been destroyed after an adult lighted a rocket-type firework that malfunctioned.

'It was like that the whole night,' Dr. Laura Schwab said. ''One right after the other. We'd ask what happened. 'Out celebrating. Bulls won.' It was crazy.'"

On August 28, 1968, after the riots during the Democratic Party Convention, Grant Park was one huge motor pool for green National Guard vehicles. I saw it.

It could happen again, to a different Mayor Daley.