WASHINGTON – An overflow black-tie crowd of legislators, dignitaries, celebrities and prominent businesspeople rode the emotional crest sparked by the eloquent oration of presidential candidate Barack Obama, who lampooned rival Sen. John McCain for his economic and domestic policies and as the Congressional Black Caucus’ 38th Annual Legislative Conference came to a charged conclusion Saturday night. A formidable brigade of Secret Service agents surveyed the electric scene inside the cavernous Washington Convention Center, within eyeshot of both the Capitol building that Obama is employed at and the White House that he is seeking to move into in little more than a month. Obama’s appearance at the CBC vied for attention with the perilous economic crisis and rescue package that Pres. Bush and Congress worked overtime to rectify just down the street. “It is unacceptable to expect the America people to hand this administration – or even any administration – a $700 billion blank check with no conditions and no oversight to the very people who got us into this position in the first place,” he bellowed, pointing an indignant finger in the direction of the Oval Office as the resplendent crowd leapt to its feet. “I’m proud that the CBC and the Democratic Caucus is championing more oversight. We have to make sure that every penny that the American people spend to finance this solution is a penny that the American people get back.”Obama riddled McCain’s presidential campaign full of holes, charging that the Arizona senator will not forward any economic proposal that can help working-class and middle-class Americans aspire to higher heights, much less sustain their current standards of living. “Understand that we’ve seen in recent weeks and days, we have seen an economic crisis over a failed philosophy – a philosophy that says give more to those with the most and hope that prosperity will trickle down to the rest. It is an economic philosophy that I will change when I am the president of the United States of America.” The auditorium practically quaked when Obama charged McCain with felonious campaign thievery, of taking Obama’s transcendent campaign slogan ‘change’ that connected with the electorate and then using as if it were his own. “Change is not grabbing one of my signs. Change is ensuring that everyone has affordable health care. Change is lowering the taxes for 95 percent of Americans. So now you want to ‘change’ too. Change … you’re taking my stuff,” Obama said as the packed house unleashed a full-throated collective roar that rattled the rafters. And it is the idea that McCain is allegedly pillaging Obama’s treasure trove of ideas may be the strongest symbol yet that Obama is on the cusp of becoming the country’s first black Commander-in-Chief. –terry shropshire