Monday, November 05, 2012

In Iowa, An Emotional Finish To President Obama's Last Campaign

President Obama makes the last stop on his long journey to keep the White House, joined by the First Lady and Bruce Springsteen...With video
Des Moines, IA - President Obama finished the last campaign of his political career late on Monday night with an emotional speech to close to 20,000 supporters in the historic East Neighborhood Village, located close to the state Captiol.  His breath visible as he spoke in the chilly late night darkness, the President stood within sight of the original campaign headquarters where his first run for office was ignited with a primary win.  His voice hoarse from weeks of sprinting through battleground states, the President spent the eve of the election weaving together stories from his past as he repeated his plans for a brighter future for America.

"Tomorrow, tomorrow, Iowa, tomorrow from the granite of New Hampshire to the Rockies of Colorado, from the coastlines of Florida to Virginia’s rolling hills, from the valleys of Ohio to these Iowa fields we will keep America moving forward," President Obama declared.

"I’ve come back to Iowa one more time to ask for your vote."

With Bruce Springsteen as his opening act and First Lady Michelle Obama joining him onstage for the first time in weeks, the President was clad in a dark jacket as he described the idealism of Iowans--especially young people--who had believed in him when many people still couldn't pronounce his name.  He seemed to be shedding a few tears as he stood at the podium.

"I came back to ask you to help us finish what we started," President Obama said.  "Because this is where our movement for change began, right here. Right here. Right behind these bleachers is the building that was home to our Iowa headquarters in 2008."

Video streaming by Ustream
During his half-hour at the podium, the President was interrupted frequently by cheers and applause by the crowd, who waved blue signs and flags, bundled against the cold in winter clothes.   The President made no mention of his GOP Challenger, but told many stories of the past, with a long, complete re-telling of the story of his 2008 campaign slogan, 'Fired Up! Ready to Go!'"  Edith Childs, the woman who coined the slogan, had declined to join the President for his swan song, he told the crowd, saying she still believed North Carolina could be won, and thus traveling to the state to help get out the vote.

The President's campaign still believes the state is in play; Mrs. Obama campaigned in Charlotte earlier on Monday.  Clad in a dark coat with a  brooch and a long scarf tied loosly, her hair down, the First Lady was walked onstage by Springsteen, who had played one of the songs he penned for the President, "Land of Hope and Dreams."

"Tomorrow, all across this state all across this country, we will line up and vote in libraries, in community centers, in school gyms, we’re going to knock on doors until our fingers are numb, we’re going to make calls until our voices are hoarse," Mrs. Obama said as she introduced her husband.   "And we won’t stop until every voice and every last vote is counted."

"And we will do it, we will do it because while we have come so far we know that there is so much more to do."

The First Lady and the President had a tarmac reunion as she arrived at the airport in Des Moines shortly before the rally; she'd flown from her own last campaign stop in Orlando, Florida.

The President and Mrs. Obama shook hands and hugged supporters for close to twenty minutes after he finished speaking, first with "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" playing and then with Springsteen blaring.

The President and The Boss began the day together in Madison, Wisconsin, then flew together to Columbus, Ohio for one last appeal to the Buckeye State, where they were joined by Jay-Z.

Vice President Joe Biden and his wife were in Virginia on Monday, appealing to voters in that crucial state.  They will spend the day in Delaware before joining the President in Chicago on Tuesday.

The President left the state Capitol at 11:14 CST,  heading for the airport.  Once airborne on Air Force One, heading for Chicago, he went back to the press cabin and chatted with reporters.  He arrived in his hometown at 12:17 CST.  (Above, the President and Mrs. Obama embrace at the end of his remarks)

The President and Mrs. Obama both early voted, and will spend Tuesday with family and friends.   In the evening, they will attend what the campaign is cautiously billing as an "Election Night Watch Party" at McCormick Place.  The indoor event is for 10,000 supporters, a marked contrast to the President's first election night party on Nov. 4, 2008, when he was joined by close to a quarter million people in Chicago's Grant Park.

Above, Springsteen during his performance on Monday night.