Saturday, November 1, 2008

Morning News

by Kevin Flynn - Sunday October 12 2008 09:04:24 AM

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Sen. Barack Obama criss-crossed [Philadelphia] as though he were running for mayor yesterday, nurturing what he hopes will be a massive voter turnout just over three weeks from now.

"This is a pretty good turnout," Mr. Obama said, without fear of contradiction as he gazed over a crowd estimated at 20,000 that stretched for blocks down 52nd Street in West Philadelphia. "We have just had a spectacular day today."

It was largest of four successive rallies, under brilliant blue skies, in which the Illinois Democrat drew big crowds in neighborhoods throughout a city essential to his hopes of capturing the state.

...Mr. Obama has made a significantly heavier investment in the state in grass-roots organizing and, particularly, in voter registration. When Mr. Kerry won the state four years ago, the Democrats had a voter registration edge of roughly 600,000. Now, in large measure due to the Obama candidacy, the advantage has swollen to nearly 1.2 million. But for those numbers to matter, the new voters have to show up on Nov. 4.

That was the message repeated by Gov. Ed Rendell, the former partisan of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, at each of yesterday's stops. Noting that voter turnout in the city had been 53 percent during the primary, he said, "If we do 53 percent, we're going to lose," he said. "We have to do 70 percent, 75 percent. Can you do that?

"I know these are difficult times," Mr. Obama said at another point in the speech...

"I know folks are worried. But I also know that now is not the time for fear or panic. Now is the time for resolve and steady leadership -- because I know we can steer ourselves out of this crisis. This is a nation that has faced down war and depression, great challenges and great threats."

"He hadn't been in Philly since the rally right before the primary, and we felt it was important ... for him to come to the neighborhoods," said [Rendell] the former mayor. "The buzz is out," he added. "By tonight, everyone in Germantown is going to know that Sen. Obama was in Vernon Park.

From the Los Angeles Times:

Barack Obama barnstormed the City of Brotherly Love on Saturday, telling tens of thousands of supporters that their votes and their volunteering would play a crucial role in deciding the presidency.

"If you will join with me, if you will work with me and organize with me and make phone calls with me and knock on doors with me, I promise you . . . we'll win Pennsylvania," Obama told 15,000 people at his first stop... "You and I together, we are going to change this country and we are going to change the world."

The Democratic presidential nominee made four stops in the city, highlighting the importance to his campaign of turning out votes in Philadelphia to offset Republican nominee John McCain's popularity in other parts of the state.

...So when Obama addressed 5,000 people outside the Mayfair Diner on Saturday, in a northeast neighborhood full of brick row houses with pumpkins on the stoops, he portrayed McCain as out of touch with working families.

"John doesn't really seem to get what's going on with this crisis. When it first started, he talked about how the fundamentals of the economy are strong," Obama said. "Where I come from, nothing's more fundamental than a job."

Obama touted his proposals to provide every American with access to healthcare, to cut middle-class taxes and to create "green collar" jobs. And though he praised McCain's call to tone down the vitriol that has marked recent GOP rallies, Obama urged voters not to be "bamboozled" by his opponents' talk about changing Washington.

"Change isn't just a slogan," he said. "Change is an understanding of what the American people are going through."

...He told a crowd of 20,000 in Germantown: "If we can rebuild Baghdad, we can sure as heck rebuild Philadelphia."

From the Associated Press:

The nation's best known and most powerful Democrats for nearly two decades, the former first couple ... will appear with Obama's running mate, Joe Biden, at a rally Sunday in Scranton, a working class town that has assumed something of an outsize role in the presidential race.

Biden was born in Scranton and lived there for several years as a child, while Hillary Clinton's father grew up in the town and is buried there. Both Biden and Clinton have emphasized their Scranton roots to illustrate their connection to blue collar voters.

After the rally, the Clintons will follow separate itineraries through presidential battleground states. They will also campaign on behalf of Democratic House and Senate candidates across the country.

...After the Scranton rally, the former president was headed to Richmond and Roanoke, Virginia. He also planned events in the next few days in Ohio and Nevada, battleground states he won in 1992 and again in 1996.

...Hillary Clinton also planned return visits to Ohio and Florida in the next few days and has scheduled trips to Omaha, Neb., and Minnesota.

She traveled Friday to Arkansas, her husband's home state and where she served 12 years as first lady, in hopes of making it more competitive for the Democratic ticket. A swing through Western battleground states is in the works as well.

Clinton did radio interviews this week in North Carolina, a reliably Republican state that has become a battleground in this presidential election. She also spoke to a Hispanic station in Florida and launched a women's canvass in Wisconsin Saturday by phone.

..."I think it is safe to say we have not seen more troubles at one time since World War Two," Clinton told a rally in Little Rock, Ark., Friday. "Probably no president will inherit more challenges that President Obama will, since Harry Truman had to take over from Franklin Roosevelt."

Aides said Clinton has headlined more than 50 events for Obama and has raised $10 million for his campaign since suspending her own presidential effort in June.

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