From NBC's Mark Hudspeth
NASHUA, N.H. -- An aide to Barack Obama said talk-show host Bill O'Reilly shoved him several times at the rope line after a campaign event today.
Marvin Nicholson, Obama's trip director, said the commentator from Fox News Channel pushed him and called him "low class" after Nicholson refused to get out of the way of his cameraman's shot.
"I've worked two campaigns, and I've never had a member of the press lay hands on a staff member before," Nicholson said.
The unusual incident occurred at the end of a rally in which more than 1,500 people jammed a high school gymnasium to see the first-term senator fresh off his victory at the Iowa Caucus.
More than 1,000 people were forced to listen to the speech in a smaller gymnasium next door after the fire marshal closed the room. The campaign said they were not expecting anything like the crowd today.
"There must be a hockey game going on here," Obama said. "We needed a bigger boat."
The crowds at Obama's campaign appearances have swelled steadily since he arrived in New Hampshire early Wednesday, but today's was the most visible demonstration yet of the newfound celebrity status of the Democratic frontrunner.
Obama got cheers from his standard stump lines about ending America's dependence on foreign oil and bringing troops home from Iraq, but some of the loudest came after appeals to the historic nature of his candidacy.
"There is a moment in the life of every generation if we are to make our mark on history, where we cast aside the doubts and we cast aside the fear, and we cast aside the cynicism, and we stand up for what we genuinely believe in," Obama said.
"This is our moment."
Dotted throughout the crowd was a smattering of very young children, some hoisted on their parents shoulders to see the stage above the crowd. Andrea and John Koschwancz brought their two small children all the way from Boston to see Obama speak.
"We wanted him to be able to remember it," John said of his two-year old son Hugh. "If he becomes President, he'll be able to say he was there."
Snarled traffic outside the school delayed the campaign motorcade for almost an hour. While they were forced to wait, Obama played basketball with staff and volunteers from Nashua, according to the campaign.