I waited till today to blog about Obama’s rally yesterday at Vernon Park, in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, mostly because I was hoping others at the rally would post videos, audio, photos, etc. of the event and I could compile some of them here since, unfortunately, my pictures didn’t come out very well.
The doors opened at 9AM. My friend and I got there at around 8:30 and already the lines were all the way down Germantown Avenue and, I could imagine, all around Greene Street. According to an article in the Inquirer, there were about 10,000 in the park and 5,000 waiting to get in. The LA Times, though, says the crowd was at 20,000. Whatever the exact number, it was an amazingly impressive sized crowd and they’re saying there were about 5,000 at the rally in Mayfair, 15,000 at the one near Temple and about 20,000 at the one in West Philly. There was so much positive energy and camaraderie between everyone in the crowd and the crowd really seemed to be a truly nice mix of different types of people.
At the start of the event, there were speeches by Dwight Evans and Chaka Fattah, both of whom did a great job energizing the crowd and introducing Obama was the happy trio of Michael Nutter, Ed Rendell and Senator Bob Casey, Jr. I’ve seen both Michael Nutter and Ed Rendell speak before (I saw Nutter speak before he was mayor) so it was a treat to see them both again. And Bob Casey, even though he’s not my favorite guy, was an excellent speaker too.
Rendell addressed the low voter turnout at the primaries, saying that only 53% showed up to vote at the primaries this year and we need to aim for 70-75% turnout on election day.
And of course when Obama came out, he connected really well with the crowds. Obama told a nice little story about pie:
He told a story about ordering a piece of pie at a small-town Ohio diner where the workers were Democrats and the owner a Republican. The story ended with Obama suggesting the owner vote Democratic because, on the economy, “we can’t do any worse.” He believes he may have won that store owner’s vote.
The problem with the diner, he told his listeners, was that it didn’t have sweet potato pie – an African American favorite – on the menu. At the rally at Vernon Park in Germantown, a woman shouted out an offer to make him some.
“We might have to have a sweet potato pie contest,” Obama said, as other offers flowed. “I’ll be the judge, because I know my sweet potato pie.”
There was another article in the Inquirer today about the rallies and how excited so many people are that we’re witnessing such an important moment in American history (despite all the problems in this country right now).
And here are some videos of yesterday’s event:
On making sure college is accessible:
Leaving the stage:
Two young women’s video of the Germantown rally:
And that same author has a video of his speech in North Philly:
And another poster has one of the West Philly event: