Rumors that Sen. Barack Obama might appear at Lollapalooza--most likely during the Saturday night set by hometown heroes and dedicated supporters Wilco--would seem to be exactly that: rumors, combined with a lot of wishful thinking.
Presidential campaigns move with the low profile of Hannibal crossing the Alps with his elephants, and there were no signs at the festival on Friday of the extensive, stepped-up security measures that would mark Obama (or Sen. John McCain, for that matter) showing up before the massive crowd at any point this weekend.
The Chicago Police Department's "Mobile Surveillance Unit/ICX Tactical Platform" hasn't even been set up in the same field where Wilco is playing: It's positioned to capture the moshing while Rage Against the Machine performs at the far end of the park at the same time as Wilco on Saturday night.
Several sources close to the Obama campaign also have noted that with only 14 weeks remaining until the election, the focus has to be on winning over voters who remain on the fence. The time for the luxury of "preaching to the converted" is long gone, and Lollapalooza definitely is a gathering of the converted.
Then, too, there is the impact of the recent attack ad by the McCain campaign co-starring Paris Hilton and Britney Spears and forwarding the message that Obama may be "the biggest celebrity in the world, but is he ready to lead?"
It wouldn't seem to be the ideal time for photos of the Democratic Presidential candidate hanging out with rock stars.
Ah, well: Obamaniacs will just have to content themselves with visiting the festival's Obama Store. Or, here's a thought: Skip that, and just register to vote at the booth right next to it.