Philadelphia — Monday night, Alicia Keys didn’t play the piano.
She didn’t dance.
She didn’t even sing.
Instead, Keys sang a different tune – she sang Obama’s praises during the President’s Women Vote 2012 Summit at the Philadelphia Convention Center.
And Keys wasn’t the only lady Democrat adding her voice to the Obama choir. A line of famous female Dems opened the event, including Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Montgomery), Lisa Nutter, senior strategist Valerie Jarrett and U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), the Democratic National Committee chairwoman.
The speakers, each as fired up as the large, mostly female crowd, talked education, health care, and women’s rights. They reiterated not only the accomplishments of the Obama administration, but the importance of bringing people out to polls come election day.
As Jarrett noted, “This is really the most important election of our time.”
Why? Because of all of that’s at stake, especially for women.
The speakers outlined what they believe women could lose if Romney was elected: fair pay (Romney has not yet commented on Obama’s first law, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act), birth control options (available under the Affordable Care Act which Romney has vowed to repeal) and affordable education (available via Obama’s student loan reforms.)
Most importantly of all, as Wasserman Schultz explained, women could lose basic rights, as Romney doesn’t stand up for women. Even that quick mention of Romney was met with boos.
“Mitt Romney wants to turn back the clock on all that we’ve achieved and take women backward. Are you going back? I’m sure not going back and we’re going to make sure for the next 130 days that the women of Pennsylvania understand that we’re not going to be dragged back to a time to the failed policies of the past or a time when our priorities were second to the body.”
When it was finally Keys’ turn to take the stage, she spoke with lots of laughs, first explaining why she loves being a woman – because “we make sure the men get it right.” She also discussed where she spent her afternoon, in West Philadelphia at the Obama For America PA field team and meeting with volunteers (who also spoke at the summit) at the field office.
Keys also noted that voters need to “stand up Philly style if something’s not working”, just like President Obama does for women.
“President Obama cares about the issues we care about and he cares about. That’s something I know deep in my core and I think we all relate to. You see him speak, whether it’s on TV or if you get a chance to see him in person, you know that there’s a really genuine spirit that comes from him, its a really human spirit. That’s the spirit of a person that I’d like to see run the country – someone that’s human. Thank you! Give me someone human!”
The crowd was interactive throughout, causing Nutter to comment that it seemed more like a rally than a “summit.” Throughout the conversation, the crowd interjected with cheers of “Four more years!”
However, the event faced some issues before it even began. Republicans criticized members of the summit’s team, including Schultz.
Independence Hall Tea Partiers spent the afternoon protesting the summit because of Wasserman Schultz’s involvement. She has been an outspoken opponent to the Tea Party, and protesters alleged that she linked the movement to the shooting of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) in Tucson.
Schultz wasn’t the only one taking hits from the GOP. In a email sent to supporters Monday, the Republican National Committee attacked Jarrett’s record on energy and the economy:
“In Philadelphia today, Valerie Jarrett will tout President Obama’s policies and their success stories,” said spokesman Billy Pitman. “But the only ones reaping the benefits are President Obama and Valerie Jarrett’s political allies and cronies. Meanwhile the middle class has faced three years of economic hardship and layoffs.
“A White House energy summit hosted by Jarrett in 2009 resulted in $5.3 billion in stimulus funding for energy companies, including Solyndra, with friendly ties to President Obama and members of the administration, only to lay off thousands of employees.”
The Women Vote 2012 Summit followed the official launch of the national Women Vote 2012 Summit Tour, which incorporates star power, campaign officials and local leaders to empower the female vote for Obama.
Team Romney had their own female meeting in Philadelphia. Chester County Sheriff Carolyn “Bunny” Welsh and Renee Amoore, deputy chairwoman of the state Republican Party, spent the afternoon in Love Park discussing Obama’s abandonment of both the middle class and women.
According to the Philly Clout, women backed Obama 51-36 in a June 12 Quinnipiac University Poll of registered Pennsylvania voters while men backed Romney 44-40 percent.