Obama Campaign Kicks Off In Philly
By Brittany Hundzynski, Contributing Writer
Barack Obama’s campaign opened its Pennsylvania headquarters with a bang last night in Center City.
The space was overflowing with Obama supporters, staffers, volunteers and even a DJ. According to Organizing for America (OFA-PA), the President’s 2012 organization, more than 600 people squeezed into the snug office to show their support over the course of the evening.
A number of PA and Philadelphia politicos spoke at the event.
City Councilman Bill Green gave a hypothetical story to explain his reasoning for supporting Obama. Imagine, he said, “a little boy who wants to quit high school looks at his older brother who did everything right and graduated from college, but doesn’t have a job. The boy starts saying to himself what’s the point.”
“We are not only here for Obama but we are here for that little boy.”
PA Democratic Party Executive Director Kevin Washo said the state will be the most-watched in the country in 2012.
“Pennsylvania is the most important state because in reality in November 2012 the eyes of the nation will be on Pennsylvania,” he said. “We can do two things; run away from the challenge or harness and embrace it. We will embrace it.”
The final speaker, PA Senator Anthony Williams, energized the crowd with a passionate address about the President’s accomplishments.
Williams spoke directly to murmers of dissatisfaction in the black community, saying he’d heard some African Americans complain that the President hadn’t done enough for them.
“You must be confused. You didn’t vote for him simply because he is African American, you voted for him because he is the best American,” Williams thundered.
After the speakers and refreshments, volunteers stayed to make campaign phone calls. Philadelphia is Obama’s strongest part of the state: about 77 percent job approval according to last month’s Quinnipiac poll. Statewide, the picture is tougher for OFA. The same poll showed the President with 54 percent disapproval.
OFA has been training volunteer and supporters since the President was inaugurated. Since the official launch of the re-election campaign in April, OFA Pennsylvania volunteers have made over 160,000 phone calls to supporters, held more than 3,000 one-on-one conversations, and hosted over 165 house parties and meetings.
Through these efforts they have collected over 25,000 “I’m In” cards from people pledging to support the President in 2012, and racked up additional pledges during Thursday’s event.