Obama: ‘Let’s get this show on the road’

Ben Breier

Ill. senator urges Ohio voters to continue spreading message

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) speaks at a rally for senatorial candidate Sherrod Brown at the Civic Auditorium in Cleveland Saturday night Nov. 4. GAVIN JACKSON | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Jason Hall

CLEVELAND HEIGHTS -ÿWhen Democratic Senate candidate Sherrod Brown walked onto the center stage of the Civic Auditorium accompanied by wife and Plain Dealer columnist Connie Schultz Saturday, a tremor of applause and cheers ripped through the audience, sending 1,500 people to their feet.

And when Sen. Barack Obama (D – Ill.) appeared moments later, the audience responded like an aftershock of an earthquake, rising up to shake the auditorium once again.

Brown and Obama joined several members of the Ohio Democratic ticket, including Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland and congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, in reminding voters to stand their ground and keep spreading the Democratic message over the next 72 hours before election day.

“This election is in your hands,” Tubbs Jones said. “When you go home tonight, call your relatives and make sure they go out to vote. Walk in your neighborhood, and ask them to go out and vote.”

When Obama spoke, he explained the correlation between the title of his book, “The Audacity of Hope,” with the upcoming election. Obama borrowed the title from the name of a sermon delivered by a Chicago reverend.

“A lot of times, it’s easier to assume that the world is what it is -ÿand that it can’t change much,” Obama said, referring to Ohio residents who watch as jobs move overseas and citizens continue to live without health care. “But the reverend said what requires boldness and risk and what is truly audacious is to hope … Despite all the things around us, a better thing is around the corner.”

Obama said he hasn’t seen much from our government during the past six years -ÿand the voting public is starting to pick up on it.

“Here’s the good news: It turns out American people are in a different mood this year,” he said. “They’re feeling serious, and they’re paying attention and asking questions.”

Some of the questions Obama believes Americans are asking include unresolved issues with health care, the war in Iraq and the pursuit of alternative energy -ÿan issue also raised by Brown, who wants to turn Ohio into the “Silicon Valley for alternative energy.”

Brown praised everybody who chose to spend their Saturday night at the Civic Auditorium.

“You could’ve done a lot of things on Saturday night but be activists, and the fact you are here will make this a better country,” he said.

He denounced Republicans for running attack ads and for standing against issues such as raising the minimum wage and stem cell research.

“Every single Democrat in this state is not just fighting back, they are fighting back with ideas and making the contrast between them and us,” he said.

Donovan Hill, vice president of the Kent State College Democrats, attended the speech with a dozen other members of the organization and referred to Saturday night as a “magical moment.”

“I think Barack deserves every bit of his reputation as a master orator, and Sherrod is right there with him,” Hill said.

And while Obama did not make any references to a potential presidential bid in 2008, Brown may have made a subtle allusion.

“I think this guy Barack Obama has a future,” Brown said.

Contact public affairs reporter Ben Breier at [email protected].