President Clinton spent the final day before the election firing up voters all across Pennsylvania today. One of those stops was in my current city of Philadelphia. Just around 90 minutes ago President Clinton walked on stage in The Palestra at the University of Pennsylvania to rally the troops for re-electing Barack Obama.
And I was lucky enough to have a seat at the show!
You bet I took pictures!
I first heard about this rally through the Penn Democrats. I'm currently a 4th year graduate student at Penn, so I'm not really too active in student organizations here (my school spirit forever remains with my undergraduate alma mater, Rutgers University), but I'm at least signed up on their email listserv. We first heard about this rally a few days ago, and I definitely knew I had to make it.
Doors were set to at 4:00pm, but I figured that the line would be fairly long well before that. Lucky enough for me, I was able to make it in line by 3:00pm and wasn't too far from the entrance of The Palestra - maybe about 500-600 feet away.
Here are some photos of the line outside while waiting:
Here is where I ended up in line at 3:00pm sharp.
The line actually started moving around 3:50pm, so they opened the doors even before the official time! Here is a sign on campus pointing us in the right direction!
About half way there to The Palestra. The news trucks were out in full force.
The outside of The Palestra. Pretty amazing that is Penn's basketball arena!
The line was moving at a solid pace, which was great because it was a bit cold outside. But nothing would keep me or thousands of other progressives away!
After about 75 minutes total in line (waiting outside and then once it started moving), I made it inside!
They had plenty of signs ready to hand out to Obama supporters! And don't worry about the empty seats, this was still 60 minutes before the rally started. We had a full house (as you will see in just a few more pictures!)
Finally, we kicked off the rally around 5:30pm. Here is the President of the Penn Democrats starting it off. The poor guy had to use crutches to hobble up the steps due to a broken foot, but he's not letting any injury get in the way of re-electing President Obama!
We recited the Pledge of Allegiance, sang the National Anthem, and then welcomed Congressman Bob Brady to the stage! Congressman Brady represents PA-01, a large chunk of which is Philly.
Next we welcomed former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell!
Only a few more to go until The Big Dog took the stage! We then had Congressman Chaka Fattah, who represents PA-02, which largely is West Philadelphia. He is my Representative.
Finally, we had Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter fire up the crowd for a few minutes before bringing out President Clinton! The crowd rose to its feet!
President Clinton spoke for about 30-40 minutes. The crowd was extremely captivated (myself included), because as we all know well, President Clinton is the absolute king of explaining things. He is able to connect to the common folk better than almost anyone in American politics.
Because the crowd was overwhelmingly college aged voters (obviously since the rally was held on a university campus), I made an effort to see which one of Obama's accomplishments the crowd cheered loudest for. There are many to choose from, and I was extremely excited to hear the biggest cheers by far for when President Clinton mentioned that Barack Obama repealed Don't Ask Don't Tell.
As we are reminded every time a new poll comes out about marriage equality, the demographics are on our side, and in a major way. My generation goes beyond "not caring" whether same sex couples are allowed to get married (which would have been good enough a decade ago). No, my generation enthusiastically supports marriage equality, and I am so very happy about this.
Obviously, President Clinton talked a lot about student loan reform, and that got the second biggest cheers of the evening, tied with the Obamacare provision that allows children to stay on their parents' health insurance plan until the age of 26 - an age that covers many professional and graduate students as well.
Overall, the evening was a momentous occasion! We all have thought that Pennsylvania is in the bag for President Obama and Senator Casey, but the anti-Obama ads have been intense the last week, with at least one literally coming every commercial break on TV. At best, lets give the President some coattails for some tough House races here in PA, like for Manan Trivedi, who is running for PA-06.
We have just under 24 hours until the first polls close tomorrow night. Let's Get Out The Vote like never before, and send a message to the obstructionist Republicans that their garbage will not stand! We're fired up and ready to go in Pennsylvania! Are you?
Finally, while I (hopefully) have the spotlight, I want to extend an invitation to Philly area and neighboring Kossacks to attend the first ever Philly Kos meet-up this upcoming Sunday, November 11 at Reading Terminal Market, starting at 2:30pm. We currently have 13 confirms and 7 maybes, and we'd love to have many more! Asterkitty has taken the lead with organizing the event, to which I owe her immense gratitude. Navajo has been featuring it daily in the New Day diary series, and once the election is over I will post a diary to remind people again. We will look to meet up in the big seating area in Reading Terminal Market - more details to follow later in the week!