Obama Makes Get-Out-The-Vote Push At Conn. Rally

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — President Barack Obama urged a crowd of supporters Saturday to harness their excitement from the 2008 presidential election and turn out again in large numbers to back Connecticut’s Democratic candidates in the midterm election.

“When we won two years ago, that was just the start,” the Democratic president told the cheering crowd of about 9,000, who mostly filled the Arena at Harbor Yard. “That wasn’t about electing a president. It was about building a movement to change the country for the better.”

Obama’s visit to Connecticut’s most populous city was part of the national Democrats’ “Moving America Forward” get-out-the-vote campaign. Besides Connecticut, the president had stops in Philadelphia and Chicago on Saturday.

Democratic Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal, gubernatorial candidate Dan Malloy and U.S. Rep. Jim Himes — all facing tight races — addressed the racially mixed crowd, urging them to knock on doors and call their friends, family and neighbors to ask them to vote Democratic on Tuesday.

“It’s not good enough simply to vote,” Malloy said. “You must do everything in your power: Facebook, e-mail, communicate with every Democrat, every right-thinking independent voter and even those Republicans who are prepared to stand with us as we bring our state back.”

The theme Saturday was the importance of electing Democrats who will help Obama continue his work in the White House. Himes, elected to his first term in 2008 with strong support from Bridgeport voters who also backed Obama, said residents need to step up again to see his dream fulfilled.

“Though Barack Obama is not on the ballot, all that he stands for, all that he believes in, all that he seeks to accomplish for all of … those things are very, very much on the ballot,” Himes said.

Blumenthal spoke of the need to stop Republicans from retaking control of the Congress.

“I don’t know about you,” he said. “I’m not willing to go back.”

Republican Senate candidate Linda McMahon criticized her opponent, Blumenthal, for attending the rally, saying it proved that “he’s a rubber stamp for the status quo.” While the latest Quinnipiac poll shows Blumenthal leading the former wrestling executive by double digits, McMahon maintains she is “closing at a frenetic pace.”

Elsa Obuchowski, a 57-year-old voter from Norwalk, said she’s been worried about Blumenthal losing to McMahon, who is on track to spend at least $50 million of her personal fortune on the race, but feels better because of the recent polls. Obuchowski, who has been making voter phone calls for Democratic candidates, said she is now more concerned for Himes because he’s been targeted in negative ads and mailings.

“I’ve run into a number of people on the phone who say, ‘Oh no, I won’t vote for Jim Himes because he cut Medicare,”‘ she said. “Well, he didn’t cut Medicare, but they get this mailer and see what it says and they don’t check out the facts, they just go into a panic when they read that.”

Charles Tisdale, executive director of a community action development agency in Bridgeport, said he was worried about low voter turnout in Bridgeport a couple weeks ago but now feels more confident given the efforts by area ministers who’ve held rallies attended by 800 to 1,000 people.

“I think that the Democrats will have a sweep, but it’s going to be close,” he said.

Obama’s speech on Saturday was interrupted for several minutes when a group of public health, law and medical students from Harvard and Yale began shouting, demanding the U.S. keep its promise to fund global AIDS initiatives. The group was shouted down by chants of “Obama!”

Obama told the students, who were later escorted out of the arena, that Democrats are more likely to support their cause than Republicans are.

“We’re funding global AIDS and the other side is not,” Obama said.

Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, who was the master of ceremonies for the rally, said despite the discontent many voters are feeling this year, Obama has made progress in enacting major changes to the health care system and passing financial reforms.

“In a little over 18 months, this country is turning around,” he said.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

  • A. Baytops

    I am really disgusted by the news report that I waited all evening to see on CBS NY. I attended today’s rally, and it was an informative, inspiring, and educational event. The weak snippet on which the news report focused only lasted about 2 minutes (the President spoke for approximately an hour), everyone, before the students were escorted out. I was almost embarrassed for the students, as the President was speaking about taking care of the myriad of issues we have here at home, and impressing a sense of urgency upon us with regards to voting on Tuesday. This is not to say that he has less of a concern for global AIDS issues; this rally just wasn’t the forum for that discussion. I expect young students to make such naive errors, but for the news station to EDIT OUT and DOWNPLAY the DOMINANT HIGH-ENERGY and HARMONIOUS ATMOSPHERE of the RALLY is just affirmation that some institutions fear effective change for all. What a sad country we live in when we prefer to hide the power of positive, intellectual logic and instead choose to infiltrate American homes with sour, negative, propaganda…when will we ever learn? You’ve just lost a Greenwich viewer; Democrats, let’s take care of business on Tuesday.

  • Dorothy B.

    The power of a Presidential push!

    Tom Foley vs. Barrack Obama’s star power.
    Tom Foley vs. Bill Clinton’s star power.
    Dan Malloy vs. Tom Foley. Malloy will win, maybe just by a nose, but he will win for two reasons.

    Reason #1: Track record. — Malloy has the in-State Connecticut chops to govern, and knows the ropes how to get things done. Foley has nothing by comparison even close to being applicable. Foley’s proposals are shallow, scary. Malloy is ready to help transform like he positively transformed Stamford.

    Reason #2: Trust. — Malloy might have plenty of flaws, but not issues of raw integrity like Foley. Foley kept his own damn arrests concealed until he was found out by a reporter, then he acts all peeved when you bring it up. He should have revealed everything before running for public office. That plus the big divorce, the Bibb layoffs, the security clearance mess-up……”untrustworthy.”

    Dan Malloy vs. Tom Foley? Malloy wins, game over. Goodbye Tommie.

  • Bill

    What stupid buffon would keep voting Dummycrat?

  • Diego

    Let us support President Obama. We are in the right path now in improving the economic suation of America.

  • http://joefornysenate.wordpress.com Joe Nardiello

    Guess there’s nothing to do in the White House.

  • Brew

    When does he stop being a sales person and become a president

  • paule

    obama is desperate, he is the kiss of death, he is using blacks, gays and latinos and only caters to them when its election time. after the election he will forget about you. he made speaches and promises to get elected, and now the same. he is a divider, not a come together guy. he said whites are the enemies of latinos, whites can get in hte back of the car, imagine if he was white and said dems can get in the back? most blacks are dems. he would be called racist, quit blaming bush, its old, and only an excuse, how long will he keep using that excuse? dems have the majority and dont need repubs to pass anything, he cant get all of his dems on board, thats the problem, so blame the dems, not the repubs.

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