Thursday, October 22, 2009

Barack Obama/Jon Corzine(09!) (also starring Caroline Kennedy)

BREAKING NEWS - The 3,500 people in attendance at the Rothman Center agree that Barack Obama is even more awesome in person.

When this Jon Corzine campaign schedule was revealed for this week I did all I could to attempt to go to all the major events. Today after a long but memorable day I can report that I did. It all started on Monday as Vice President Joe Biden campaigned at Middlesex County College in Edison. Former President Bill Clinton was at the College Avenue Gym at Rutgers University in New Brunswick Tuesday night. The main event was today. It was the day Barack Obama returned to the Garden State to campaign for Jon Corzine for the 2nd time in this election cycle. The President campaigned in Holmdel at the PNC Bank Arts Center back in July.

The doors were scheduled to open at 3 PM. I went with my sister and both of us thought we were a lot later then we wanted to be and had given up all hopes for a good sight line at the rally. Keep in mind that we had about an hour drive to get there. Much to our surprise at 1:00 PM there wasn't a line at all. There were a couple of hundred people just walking around so we immediately went towards the gates and lined up at the front of what would be one of the four lines going in. That was victory number one on the day for us. Waiting in line for two hours provided plenty of time to talk to others also lined up. The crowd was filled with people young (I met kids as young as 5) and old. Black, White, Brown and pretty much everything in between. While in line I was interviewed by Nyier Abdou of  the Star Ledger. I'm trying to get my hands on a copy of the full interview.

Obama and Corzine supporters rally at Farleigh Dickinson University

Yes, this was the view I had from my spot in the line. It only got better as we got inside. Check out the view of the stage we had inside.

The atmosphere there was electric. It could be because this was indoors but this crowd of 3,500 felt as thought it was as loud as the 17,500 who were in attendance back in July. Like I said before, getting there at 1 PM I wasn't expecting a good spot in the line. Had I been further back in line I probably would have gone into the bleachers rather then standing but getting into the front row obviously changed all that.

Once all the local officials had given their speeches urging the crowd to vote for the Democratic team on November 3rd we sat through about a hour break. During this break reports came out that Caroline Kennedy had been added to the event. What an addition! I knew she was going to campaigning with Jon Corzine, I just wasn't expecting it to be at this event. Very happy that I was able to add her on my list of prominent Democrats who I have heard speak in person. While we are talking about this break have I mentioned the new law that makes it mandatory for all Democrats to be fans of Michael Jackson? Funny moment as we waited one of the Secret Service agents brought out a binder to the podium presumably carrying Obama's speech. He got a huge ovation from the crowd and just shook his head as he left the stage. The D.J made sure to get that agent one more big applause.

Loretta Weinberg was up first after the break as we headed towards the main event. She gave pretty much the same speech she did at the Clinton event last night. She talked about the faces of the Democratic party in the audience mentioning the diversity. She even had the same height joke! For those who don't know...Loretta Weinberg is a really short woman. I was too busy texting people about Caroline Kennedy that I hardly paid attention to Weinberg until she started to tease who was backstage (most people were not aware that Kennedy had been added to the event). Weinberg started talking there being a big advocate for women standing backstage. The crowd immediately thought about Obama and started to cheer before Weinberg continued by adding "She...." Senator Weinberg talked about the previous generation of Kennedy's and then called up "our neighbor" Caroline Kennedy.

It was great to see Caroline Kennedy get a huge ovation. I'm a big Kennedy person. Obviously wasn't around for Jack or Bobby but was always fascinated by Ted Kennedy. Every country has that one political family that stands out and without any doubt the Kennedy clan is that. It's a shame that Caroline Kennedy's senate bid got derailed last year because she would be one hell of a senator. She is on the right side of the issues. She may not be the world's most powerful speakers but her words do have a depth to them. It's a shame that a lot of people almost looked at is "payback" for the Democrats after what had happened to Sarah Palin. What a big time joke that was. Caroline Kennedy is not Sarah Palin. What has Sarah Palin ever done in her life? What has she accomplished? Caroline did a good job pitching for Corzine calling him a friend and saying that "he had made the hard choices" as governor. She talked about how great it was to be back on the campaign trail with "our President Barack Obama."

Jon Corzine was up next. He started off saying "I’ll get out of the way pretty fast because I know who you came to see." That got him a nice round of applause. Corzine's been joking about this at all his rallies but this continues to be a problem. Like I told the Star Ledger in the video above and I know a lot of people agree with me on this, the big names coming in to campaign for Corzine have made a better case for him then he has for himself. That's just a shame. Like I have been saying Jon Corzine is the right man for the job at this time. How can Christie be campaigning about the corruption in Trenton when reports about his activities keep surfacing on a regular basis? All week long the Corzine and the other local Democrats have been lumping Christie with GOP governors Sarah Palin and Mark Sanford. It’s a brilliant strategy on the part of the Corzine campaign. They should continue this all the way to election day. Corzine also has been effective this week in tying Christie to the Bush/Cheney ways. Corzine also managed to get his mother booed by mentioning that she is a registered Republican. Ouch.

Barack Obama was the main event and he more then delivered his end of the bargain. Everyone knows what a great speaker Barack Obama is but the experience is even better in person. The buzz in the crowd when Obama took the stage was amazing. I go to a ton of sporting events and I have never seen, heard or experienced anything remotely like it. Obama talked about Corzine being a early supporter of his when he first ran for senate in 2004. Obama also pointed out two NJ congressmen who were in attendance and were early supporters of his Presidential run. Obama mentioned that Corzine is a friend of the White House and again mentioned his input into the economic recovery plan. Obama said Corzine was the first New Jersey Governor in 60 years to reduce the size of government (is it just me or does that mean that this added to unemployment?). Obama pitched his health care plan just like he did back in July. He emphasized that he needed the crowd for Health care reform. He said he needed the audience and so did Jon Corzine. Obama made sure to emphasize that it was Christie's party that got us into this big mess over the last 8 years. Obama added "I'm telling you these folks have a lot of nerves.....they leave this big mess and suddenly they're complaining about how fast we're cleaning it up." Obama knocked the trickle down policies of the GOP but the Democrats have to hope his charisma and powerful speech have a trickle down effect on Corzine and gets him a victory on November 3rd. Obama was so good in his pitch for Jon Corzine he even managed to get something done that even Corzine hasn't been able to do lately....get a "Corzine!" chant going. Obama joked about the "selective memory" of the opposition. Obama ridiculed Christie's stance on  the economy saying he's been acting like New Jersey is the only state that is being affected.   Earlier this morning I sent out a tweet asking "New Jersey are you fired up for Barack Obama today?" My sister who went to this rally with me had her "Fired Up" T-Shirt on. Little did we know at the time that Barack Obama would finish off with the story on the "Fired Up" lady. I have heard that story a million times but I have to say that it is still great every time you hear it. Like Obama gets you "Fired up....and ready to go!" He said the moral of the story was that "one voice can change a room. And if it can change a room it can change a city....can change a state....can change a country." He urged the people in the crowd to go knock on doors and make phone calls for Jon Corzine and even joined in on a "4 more years" chant.

If you don't have time to watch the whole speech right now you have to watch the "one voice" portion of it. It is a short clip.

The end of the speech is where the madness begins. Being at the front we were prepared for the rush of people that was about to come our way. They really should put some padding on those railings because one of these days someone is going to get hurt pretty bad. We had two little kids in our section and it was a difficult task for their mothers to keep them shielded from the madness. Obama did his handshakes and left. One of the kids in our section had an Obama book that he was trying to get signed. Once Obama left, luckily the mother was able to get Reggie Love's attention. He was nice enough to take the book to the back and get the book signed by Barack Obama himself. That kid will have one great story to tell for the rest of his life. For those who don't know Reggie Love he was a former college basketball player at Duke University (have to enter the obligatory "I hate Duke!" warning here). He actually played for one of the better Duke teams in recent memory. Just look at that roster. He now serves as the "personal aide to the President" or the "Bodyman" as they are called. If you watched West Wing at all think of Dule Hill's character of "Charlie Young." That is what Reggie Love does. Did you watch his cameo at a White House press briefing recently?

One of the things I love about events like these is that you make new contacts and friends. It happened to be at the Obama rally in July and it happened here again.

Does anyone know why Obama didn't have the Seal of the President on the Podium? Did someone from the advance team mess up?

Three different women fainted near the front, all in the same general area. It's amazing to watch the Secret Service in action as they swooped in and carried the women out quickly without causing too much of a distraction as the speeches were going on.

Oh yeah, while this rally was going on Chris Christie was "campaigning" at a diner less than 2 blocks away. Is he setting up for another round of "fat" jokes. What a joke that he's even trying to get some sympathy that way. Did you guys watch him on the Situation Room today?

I didn't get to see the protesters before the event but did see one as I got into my car. She just seemed like she was protesting anything and everything because that sign had a lot of stuff on it. I only caught "No to Vaccines" and "No to dirty bombs".

All in all an amazing experience. I'll probably add more to this tomorrow as I recall more stuff but this was one of the greatest experiences ever. It's been an amazing week and the rumor floating around is that Obama will be in Newark before the November 3rd elections. I am definitely looking forward to that. One thing of note was that Senator Lautenberg was present at the event but did not speak. I mentioned on Monday that he didn't look good then and I continue to wonder whether he is just hanging around until Corzine wins so a Democrat would replace him because I don't think he will finish his term which ends in 2014.

If you've never been to a political rally, make an effort to do so. If you know someone who's not into politics make sure you drag them along. Watching the likes of Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Caroline Kennedy will get them fired up. How many of you have seen Obama in person? How many of you seen any of these figures from this week in person? How about other political figures? Do share your stories. I'll post a few more pictures below but a full gallery is present here.

That's me.

As always you can leave a comment here, reach me by e-mail or contact me via Twitter.

Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My DaughtersDreams from My Father: A Story of Race and InheritanceBy the People: The Election of Barack Obama

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