Pittsburgh — By 9:30am on the day before Election Day, a line of Obama supporters could be seen snaking around downtown Pittsburgh’s Market Square. Waiting for the arrival of one of President Barack Obama’s biggest fans, those who braved the cold would soon have the pleasure of seeing former President Bill Clinton.
“Are you ready to send Mark Critz back to congress? Are you ready to put Bob Casey back in the Senate? Are you ready to make Kathleen Kane the first Democratic Attorney General in the history of Pennsylvania,” opened Clinton in-between the crowd’s screams in a voice which was audibly affected by his ongoing push for President Obama.
He spoke on behalf of the entire Democratic ticket, but his main role is as insurance. Democrats largely dismissed a final-week push by the GOP – including over $12 million in TV ads and a visit from Mitt Romney Sunday – but apparently don’t want to take chances. Clinton is their number one national surrogate.
With the crowd of thousands fired up to vote blue in tomorrow’s election, Clinton boiled the election down to a few words: “Who’s more likely to restore the middle class; to give poor people a chance to work their way into it; to build a 21st century American economy, with the good jobs of tomorrow; to reduce our debt and maintain our leadership in the world; and keep us moving forward together.”
The former POTUS also made references to Obama stepping off the campaign trail in order to help the relief efforts created by Hurricane Sandy, as well as the endorsement Obama recently received from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg amidst a roar from the crowd as he touted the President’s various achievements.
Other local Dems rallied, too.
“I believe, as I think we all do, that education, every young person in this country should have access to free public education,” said PA-12 Congressman Mark Critz who was joined by Senator Bob Casey, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, Rep. Mike Doyle, and USW president Leo Gerard who all voiced their support of President Obama to the hundreds in attendance.
After taking multiple shots at Americans for Tax Reform founder Grover Norquist, Critz also added that, “I believe that social security and medicare are two of the most successful programs in this country, and we should protect them at all costs.” The Congressman then welcomed the 42nd President of the United States to take the stage.
Though Critz was there to be on TV with Clinton, his opponent Keith Rothfus noted that the rally was being held for Obama – an unpopular figure in the 12th district and a name Critz has endeavored to avoid.
“The truth seems to have finally been acknowledged with one day left in the campaign. Congressman Critz announced last night that he will be spending the morning in Pittsburgh to rally with supporters of President Obama and trying desperately to stop the bleeding of two failing campaigns,” Rothfus said.
John Farrell, Contributing Writer
Blue Bell — A long line stretched out on the campus of Montgomery County Community College even hours before former president Bill Clinton was set to speak there in support of Barack Obama. There hundreds stood in cold weather awaiting him, but with the energy in the air it was difficult to notice.
The former president was preceded by many prominent Democrats, including Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Montco) and congressional candidate Manan Trivedi, George Badey, and Kathy Boockvar. They all displayed a unified message of support for Barack Obama, as did Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro. He stressed, “how important it is to have a president who understands the value of a community college,” and how such institutions can serve their regions.
In his own speech, Clinton was eloquent in his defense of Obama’s policies and the triumphs his policies have achieved, while at the same time pounding Romney for his lack of specificity on his own proposals. While bringing up the president’s work on economic, military, and social policy, Clinton said that he was proud to support the candidate, “more likely to bring us a twenty-first century prosperity.”
In an interesting turn, the former president chose George Bush’s definition of a president as a mark of pride for Barack Obama: that of “decider in chief”. He presented Obama as a man who had made many tough yet successful decisions while his opponent had decided nothing. “If you were to ask governor Romney about his tax policy, he’d tell you ‘ask me after the election’.”
This stop was one of four that former president Bill Clinton went through today in Pennsylvania, encouraging support for the president and urging voters to make their voices heard in the election.
Meghan Check, Contributing Writer
Philadelphia — Monday evening former President Bill Clinton spoke at an Obama for America rally held at the University of Pennsylvania. The crowd was overwhelmingly young, college-aged people; quite a different showing from the Romney rally on Sunday. The Palestra at UPenn was nearly filled to it’s maximum occupancy of about 9,000.
Notable speakers that introduced Clinton included former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter. Rendell spoke briefly highlighting the controversy around the Affordable Care Act saying,
“This president knew… if we ever had the chance to end the national shame of the richest country in the world being the only country in the world to not guarantee healthcare to its citizens, he had to act at the beginning of his administration, and guess what? It worked.”
Nutter praised Obama’s economic efforts saying that he is “making Wall Street play by the same rules as Main Street.”
Bill Clinton gave a comprehensive speech. He provided the audience with specifics regarding economics and criticized the Republicans’ plan saying, “even after all the evidence in the world that trickle down economics doesn’t work, they want to do it all over again.”
He also spoke about jobs, clean energy and education. Regarding student loans, he said “when people can pay it back as part of their income, no one will ever have to drop out of college again.”
Daniel Gleason, Contributing Writer
Scranton — In his final stop on the election day eve tour in Pennsylvania, A fired up Bill Clinton rallied supporters in Scranton Monday Night.
Clinton was joined alongside by Attorney General candidate Kathleen Kane and Senator Bob Casey, as well as PA-17 candidate Matt Cartwright. Together, their message was simple. Go forward, not backwards.
“Nobody could’ve healed all the damage done by that financial crisis and four years,” said Clinton “But, he didn’t let us go into a depression, we still are on our way back. Since we have been gaining jobs in 33 months, we’ve had 5.5 million private sector jobs. Thats twice as many as we had in the previous administration in seven years.”
Clinton praised Obama for the work that he has done in office. Among those accomplishments job creation, health care, equal pay for men and women, and the automobile bailout. Clinton praised Obama for his leadership during Hurricane Sandy, saying he knew that Obama “fully grasped the job of the President” during the crisis.
Clinton also was not shy in his praise of Kane. He has been a prominent advocate for her throughout her bid for Attorney General.
“Tell the truth, are you proud of Kathleen Kane or what?” asked Clinton. “People said who is this woman, what’s gonna happen, and I said ‘you wait’. And every single person who questioned my judgment has come up to me and told me ‘boy you were right about her she’s great.’”
Senator Casey, who faces a tough re-election bid against GOP hopeful Tom Smith, got some love from his hometown crowd as well. In short remarks to the crowd, he stressed the importance of protecting our families.
“This is an election about the future,” said Casey. “About whether we’re gonna move forward or whether we’re gonna take a right turn back into that ditch they had us in 2008. We’re not gonna do that because here in Lackawanna County, here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, and throughout our Commonwealth, we take care of our families.”