Hoarse-voiced Obama stumps to estimated 35,000 at OSU
Crowd is biggest at an Obama rally since his election, officials say
Published: Sunday, October 17, 2010
Updated: Friday, June 15, 2012 22:06
In a hoarse voice worn from the busiest campaign since his election, President Barack Obama warned an estimated crowd of 35,000 on Ohio State's campus tonight that Wall Street values will govern the country if Republicans regain power in the upcoming mid-term election.
In what officials called the biggest rally since Obama was elected, the president told the crowd on the university's Oval that he has worked for two years to reverse problems he inherited from Republican policies.
"I've been explaining to a lot of people around the country, it's as if they drove America into a ditch," he said. "Even though we didn't drive that car in the ditch, it is still our responsibility to get that car out of the ditch."
The president cited his administration's health care legislation, which passed despite strong Republican opposition, as one of the key successes of his presidency, along with education reform to make college more accessible to "ordinary people." If Democrats stay in power in Congress after the Nov. 2 election, he said, the government will continue those policies and push for new sources of clean energy to provide jobs in the U.S.
If Republicans wrestle power from Democrats in Washington, Obama said, the country will lapse into the same economic mire that he said was caused by GOP and Wall Street executives.
The estimated record crowd is good news for Obama and Gov. Ted Strickland, who are trying to fire up Democratic voters in a key battleground state. But a poll released last Friday indicated that Republicans are widening their lead in major Ohio races.
A poll sponsored by the University of Cincinnati reported an 8-point lead for former U.S. Rep. John Kasich in his bid against Strickland. According to the poll, 51 percent of likely voters favored Kasich, while 43 percent said they would vote for Strickland. One percent said they would cast a ballot for someone else and 5 percent were undecided.
The youngest category of likely voters — also the target of Obama's speech Sunday — was one of the groups most likely to favor Kasich on the poll. The survey reported that 52 percent of likely voters age 18 to 29 support Kasich, compared to 44 percent for Strickland.
Speaking before her husband at their first campaign stop since 2008, Michelle Obama told the crowd that the president isn't concerned about polls. Still, the president acknowledged that Democrats face a tough political climate.
Barack Obama took the stage after stump speeches from other notable Democrats. Former Sen. John Glenn defended the president and Strickland and said they've gotten a bad rap, despite legislative success. Strickland told the crowd that Ohio is well on its way to recovery, being named the sixth best-recovered state by the Federal Reserve. The president was also introduced by a performance from John Legend, Undergraduate Student Government President Micah Kamrass and other Ohio Democrats.
Obama, who was in Cleveland earlier today, will continue his campaign blitz Wednesday in a four-day tour of West Coast states where Democrats are grappling to retain power.