- Published on Wednesday, 31 October 2012 16:32
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Richmond — President Barack Obama gave a rousing speech at Byrd Park in the middle of Richmond on Thursday. More than 15,000 enthusiastic supporters came out to the park, overflowing into streets, standing on some roofs, even standing along alleys that had no view at all of the stage, but it was clear—Richmond had Obama fever.
The President had been on a 48-hour super tour across the nation and was arriving from Florida.
He was scheduled to speak at 1:35 p.m., however, his motorcade arrived at the park shortly after 12:40 p.m. The crowds, seeing the dozens of motorcycles and approximately seventy cars that make up the President’s motorcade roared when they saw it approach.
Kaine took the stage and got the crowd fired up. Kaine, the former mayor of Richmond, current adjunct-professor at the University of Richmond Schools of Leadership and Law and current U.S. Senate Candidate for Virginia was leaving nothing behind.
Kaine, who is up in most polls against George Allen, his Republican challenger, has campaigned with Obama several times this year. He is also good friends with Mark Warner, who fully endorsed Kaine. One thing Kaine has that is undeniable, beyond his firm stance on important issues, is charm and a down-to-earth personality. He remembers names, gives hugs, takes pictures.
Next, Warner took the stage, touting how Obama would be the best choice for president and that Romney and Ryan were not only flip-floppers, but also not to be trusted.
“If you want to know about business, you don’t need a business degree,” Warner said. “I know about business—do any of you have a cell phone? Well, the plan from Romney/Ryan just doesn’t add up, it’s simple arithmetic,” he said to a cheering “Obama Four More Years” crowd. Warner is a former cell phone executive who has a home in King George.
Warner then introduced Obama who took the stage to an ear-deafening welcome. Obama spoke about the need to vote early and joked that “Michelle just voted for me.” Obama, whose voice was significantly hoarse, something he acknowledged due to his grueling schedule of the past 48-hours, criticized the attack on women and, while not overtly, attacked the recent comments by the Indiana Republican Senate candidate—the only one Mitt Romney has done any television ads for— who said that conception of a child even from rape is meant by God.
In a long segment from his quote, Obama supporters were silent, with appropriate reactions at points, but the President took a serious tone and said:
“You can choose to turn back the clock 50 years for women, and immigrants, and gays - or in this election, you can stand up for that basic principle, enshrined in our founding documents, that we’re all created equal. That everybody has a voice in America. That it doesn’t matter who you are, or what you look like, or where you come from, or who you love - black or white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, young, old, rich, poor, gay, straight, abled or disabled - it doesn’t matter, you have a place in America. You can make it if you try. That’s what’s best in our country. That’s what we’re fighting for.
“Virginia, we’ve been through some tough times, but we always bounce back - because the American people are always tougher than any tough times. We always come out on top because we pull together, because we look after one another, because we don’t leave people behind. We don’t close the door behind us if we’re successful - we open it up a little wider so folks can walk through. We don’t turn back. We look forward at that distant horizon, at the next destination. Our destiny is not written for us, it’s written by us - and we’re going to write that next chapter together.
“That’s why I’m asking for your vote in this election. That’s why I’m asking for your vote. And I promise you, if you give me four more years, you’ll have a President who always hear your voice; a President who will always fight for you and your family; a President who spends every waking hour trying to make your lives just a little bit better.
“Virginia, I believe in you. I’m asking you to keep believing in me. And if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves with me, and work with me, knock on some doors with me, make some phone calls with me, we’ll win Richmond. We’ll win the Commonwealth of Virginia again. We’ll win this election. We’ll finish what we started. And we’ll remind the world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.”
Obama stressed the importance of early voting, getting out the vote and how Virginia was important to this election as a state that would likely cast the deciding ballots. Obama also riffed on Romney with his previously unveiled “Romnesia” line, which was very well accepted. In fact, as he spoke, the audience filled in his sentences at appropriate times, screaming “ROMNESIA” to fill in the blank “Mad Libs” style.
The event, which was carried live by all national cable news networks and some of the local stations, lasted about one-half hour, before Obama and Brian Williams, of NBC News were back on Air Force One. Williams had been filming a documentary on Obama’s Campaign.
Christopher Wiggins, White House Press Pool Reporter, Journal Press