Las Vegas Sun

April 14, 2024

Party for 150? My house? Friday? Come on over, Obama

So Yvette Williams gets this call Monday, and under normal circumstances, the guy's request would seem kind of rude. He wanted to know whether Williams would mind throwing a party Friday, about 1 p.m., light refreshments, for 150 people.

Except, it's not rude, because Barack Obama will be there.

As she tells the story of the phone call, she does this really endearing swooning thing, and says, "I've been on cloud nine ever since."

Williams likes the senator from Illinois, who's a top-tier candidate to be the Democratic nominee for president.

In fact, because of her near-manic volunteer efforts, she's been able to meet him twice during his past trips to Nevada, and both times, this educated, traveled, refined woman could only stammer: "I love you."

(It's not like that - her husband's an eager volunteer, too. Plus, she's already planning a totally more insightful conversation for the party at her Las Vegas home.)

She can hardly believe it: "It's not real for me," Williams said Thursday.

What is real, though, is presidential politics in Nevada. These types of intimate gatherings at the homes of "regular" people are more common in Iowa and New Hampshire, where choosing a president is an every-four-years ritual.

Williams has never really worked for a presidential candidate before, she said. She's given money, put a sign or two in her yard, but nothing like this.

She heard Obama speak and hadn't been moved like that, hadn't had a politician make her feel like she could be proud of her government again.

So she started researching him. (Williams tends to do things all the way, apparently. She researched Obama on the issues, and looked at his Senate financial disclosure forms.)

Now she speaks in dreamy terms about him, about the new friends she's made and about Obama doing for America and the world what he's done for her slice of Nevada.

(Of course, it should be noted, each major Democratic candidate marching through Nevada - Sen. Hillary Clinton, former Sen. John Edwards, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson - has supporters with their own epiphanic conversion moments.)

Williams said she'd support Obama no matter his background, but she also identifies with his richly textured background: She's black but has a French grandfather. She was an Air Force brat, so she lived all over the world.

Obama, whose father was a Kenyan goat herder, will probably feel comfortable at the Williams home, a spacious and elegant ranch with decor that is tasteful and eclectic, along the lines of really cool African masks from Nigeria and Benin, and a sweet foosball table.

After the interview, it was back to work for Williams. A cleaning crew was busy spiffing the home, where she lives with her husband, Damone, an engineer, and their two daughters.

Plus, another media outlet had all but given directions to the place, even though it's an invitation-only party, so there was the Secret Service to deal with ("such well-mannered men and women," she said of them ) .

And of course, balloons, hats and flags. Punch, cheese and salami trays . ("No bling. We're mom and pop.")

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy