(First, I don’t know why my photos turned out so dark. Sorry.)
On Thursday, the Fisher campaign announced a rally with President Bill Clinton for Sunday evening in Cincinnati—which is considered to be Rob Portman’s base. By Sunday, they had packed house that had to resort to having overflow seating and speakers placed outside the venue.
The event started with Hamilton County Commissioner candidate Jim Tarbell playing the “Star-Spangled Banner” rockin’ it on the harmonica. Complete with Jimi Hendrix riffs. No, I’m serious.
Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory entered like a rock star. And I don’t mean that figuratively. It was Colbert-eque.
Mallory, as always, is great in firing up a partisan crowd. After warming up the crowd, Mayor Mallory talked about how Lee Fisher was the only candidate who understand that our urban areas are the backbone of Ohio’s recovery.
But I got to say something I never thought I would write. Congressman Steve Driehaus rocked the house. He came in to a standing ovation and thunderous applause and cheering.
Driehaus had two great lines. “The opposition says they want to take the country back. I want to take the country forward!”
And then he said he was asked in 30 seconds to say what the Democrats have achieved to justifying staying in power. He said these four things:
- We ended the recession and prevented it from becoming a Depression.
- The most important advancement in health care reform since the New Deal.
- Reformed meaningful Wall Street reform (that public polling shows is the most popular thing the Democratic Congress has done, and yet, Chabot and other GOPers are running to repeal it.)
- We ended the Iraq War.
The crowd went nuts.
Fisher took the stage, and I have to admit that it’s not the Lee Fisher I was used to. He was loose and energetic. He spoke with a passion and conviction I don’t recall seeing in 1998.
He opened with “I would like to think that you are here for one reason- for me.” He stressed the importance of early voting. How if those of us who voted two years ago vote today we will win.
For eight years, we had George W. Bush who had a shovel. And on one side he had John Kasich and Rob Portman, and at the other Steve Chabot, and they took a $250 billion surplus and turned it into a $1 trillion deficit before the economic meltdown.
He talked about how they are now running to replace a Democratic regime on nothing more than we haven’t fixed in twenty months what took them eight years to wreck. And he said let there be no mistake. If they win, they will be sworn into office with one hand on the bible, and the other on that shovel.
Lee Fisher spoke about how this election was about him, it wasn’t about the folks even in the packed auditorium. It’s about the people who couldn’t be here because they’re sitting at their kitchen table trying to figure out how they’re going to pay the bills, pay their mortgage, and still be able to send their kids to college.
Then Clinton came on. If Barack Obama wasn’t President, you could almost feel the crowd wanting to chant “Four more years!” Term limits be damned.
Bill Clinton began by reminding people that 80% of the time when you make a decision when you’re angry, you regret it later. We have to remind people of why they’re angry and how we got here. How we went from a $250 billion surplus to over a $1 trillion deficit before the economic meltdown. How we saw our national debt double before the meltdown.
Clinton acknowledged that Ohio is football country and said we need to remind people to watch the game film of the team looking to take over. He called the Republicans a 2-14 coaching team that is angling to get the 8-8 coaching team fired because it’s been 22 months and we haven’t won the Super Bowl yet.
Clinton said the way we need to get this economy going is three-fold:
- We need to free up money for small business.
- We need to promote policies that focus on redeveloping our manufacturing base.
- We need to focus on improving job training because we have job openings right now that our current labor market cannot fill.
Clinton pointed out that there was only one party that was in favor of those three things, and it’s the Democratic Party.
Portman opposes the President’s plan to help out small businesses by providing them with access to more capital for equipment, expansion, and hiring, even though Portman issued no qualms with publicly backing the Bush Administration’s bailout of Wall Street.
The GOP plan for manufacturing? LOL… next.
While the GOP talks a good game about retraining, Clinton pointed out that under the budget that House Minority Whip Eric Cantor and other has been so quick to embrace…. cuts funding for federal training programs by 25%.
As we poured out of the building, the coordinated campaigns had volunteers ready to distribute yard signs. Every state and local race has people distributing signs and people willing to take them. It was a really blood pumpin’ event to see.