On a near picture perfect day in Philadelphia, President Obama spoke to an estimated crowd of 18,500, in his second rally of Moving America Forward. If you believe in magic, there was magic in the music, mood, message, manner and method of Philly's Obama rally on Sunday. President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Pennsylvania elected officials brought the get out the vote campaign (GOTV) to Philly. Philadelphia elected officials recognized that this was the first time the President and Vice President attended together a Philadelphia rally.
Before the President addressed the crowd, the music set the tone. With The Roots performing and a DJ playing "Ain't No Stopping Us Now, We're on the Move," the pre-rally music charged up the crowd. The mood of the crowd was exuberant and fired up as Pennsylvania Congressmen Robert Brady, Chaka Fattah, Joe Sestak and Vice President Biden briefly spoke and wet the crowd's appetite for the main attraction, President Obama.
President Obama's message to the crowd was loud and clear. He laid out two choices before voters in November's mid-term elections. The choices are to either go back to the past with the Republican agenda that sunk the country or move America forward with the Democratic agenda. He made the case clear: vote for Republicans who voted for a $700 billion tax cut for 2% of America's wealthiest or for Democrats who propose a permanent tax cut for the middle class and tax cuts for companies investing in making goods in America. President Obama told the crowd that Republicans plan to cut financial aid to 8 million college students while the Democrats propose a $10,000 relief in college tuition for everyone. He contrasted the 3 million more people who are working today due to measures taken by the Democrats with the millions who are still out of work due to the Republicans for "messing up so bad".
President Obama did not sugar coat the economic reality as he has sometimes done in the past. He expressed his frustration that many people are still suffering, barely hanging or treading water. Obama spoke truthfully and acknowledged that the country is far from the hope felt on his election night and at his inauguration. Yet, he charged the crowd to face their fears, doubts and disappointments as a test. He urged them to accept the challenge that change is hard.
Hearing the President speak to the crowd, I felt and sensed the same energy on Sunday that was seen in many of Obama's 2008 election rallies. Although, I recently heard portions of President Obama's speech before, something rang new this time around. There was a change in the President's manner of delivery. He spoke with a sense of conviction. He spoke to the crowd like a persuasive trial lawyer, in a closing argument, laying out a case before the jury, and charging them to make the right choice. His message and manner of delivery will resonate with his Democratic base and perhaps, some Independents. Obama's energy level heightened the energy of an already energized crowd.
This rally was not just about a feel good Sunday afternoon. The method for Democratic success was outlined. Obama spoke about the millions of special interest money pouring in to support Republican candidates from many unknown sources. He spoke that those millions of dollars must be counter balanced by millions of votes against them. The rally urged voters to engage in grass roots efforts of reaching out to neighbors, friends and co-workers with door knocking and phone calling. Voters were asked to volunteer at www.barackobama.com or text '2010' to '62262' (OBAMA) to receive updates.
Many people, young and old, are unemployed, under employed and disillusioned with the political process and shortcomings of any quick fix to cure the economy. The Democrats know that 2010 is a far cry from 2008. It will take grass roots efforts, millions of votes and a little magic for Democrats to win in November. There are two more Move America Forward rallies scheduled for Ohio on October 20 and Nevada on October 22. Time will tell if magic works the second time around for Democrats. It worked on Sunday, October 10 at the Philly rally.