Friday, April 16, 2010

Barack Obama in Miami -- fixing problems, getting laughs, calling our candidates' names

Tucked in my box of campaign memories from 2008 is an event at the University of Miami, when candidate Barack Obama gave what seemed a mild shout-out to our Democratic challengers to the incumbent Republicans in the US House of Representatives. That may not be an accurate or full picture of what happened. But since we were struggling to get media coverage, endorsements, donations -- anything! -- it was always disappointing when the result didn’t seem whole-hearted.

Well, this was not the problem Thursday evening in Miami when Barack Obama, who buzzes in on Air Force One now, started his speech at the Adrienne Arsht Center with full-voiced shout-outs to:
  • Alex Sink, running for governor
  • Loranne Ausley, running for chief financial officer
  • Kendrick Meek, running for the open seat in the US Senate
  • Joe Garcia, running for open Florida District 25 in the US House
  • Scott Maddox, running for commissioner of agriculture and consumer affairs
  • Suzanne Kosmas, seeking re-election in Florida District 24 in the US House.

Sorry I didn’t get my Flip camera running quickly enough to get Obama calling Alex Sink’s name and her happy wave in response, but the others can be seen in tiny images -- Hey, the Flip only has a two-power zoom.

It was also super to hear the president thank the brilliant Esperanza Spalding, who thrilled the house with three jazz numbers before the political speeches. If you haven’t heard of her, check out the long profile of her in the New Yorker. Think the rare woman playing bass, think lovely singing, think beautiful. She was a treat.

Let me note that the president called Joe Garcia “a great friend of mine.” Joe has just left his high position with the Department of Energy to run for the open congressional seat in District 25, and we should be on track to a win.

Also on stage with the president were our own US Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, FL-20, a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, and DNC Chair Tim Kaine, former governor of Virginia.

Kaine noted that the pundits predict the president’s party loses 28 House seats in the typical mid-term election. “They under-estimate us,” he countered. “We’ve got a great president.” There’s a major health law that will look better and better, Kaine went on, and we Democrats have enough fine candidates that we’re going after some Republican seats -- not merely defending. Hey, there’s Joe Garcia again, running for the seat long misrepresented by Mario Diaz-Balart, who’s escaping to FL-21, vacated by his retiring brother Lincoln. (What is it with these Republican quitters?)

And as the president declared in his humor-laced speech, “We’ve begun to fix the problems” -- chiefly health care to this point (long applause there), but coming soon is financial reform (long applause again for levying fees on banks to recoup all that bailout money).

Obama reminded us that the recovery act included a lot of tax cuts for the middle class, and said he was “amused” that rallies were being held on this Tax Deadline Day to protest supposedly high taxes. “You would think they’d be saying, ‘Thank you,’” he said, drawing one of a string of big laughs.

From this very pleasant time at the Arsht Center (well worth the money), your blogger is predicting that the president will be using his charm and gentle wit to cut the Party of No down to the Party of Nothing in the coming months.


Larry Thorson said...

Noting belatedly that this is post No. 1,000 since Miami-Dade Dems went active. This is a milestone for your blogger and the others who have posted. Thanks to readers and posters! Thanks to those who are boosting this post on Facebook.

Thank goodness this was a substantial post with a lot of work, including a video. Some posts are accomplished in a minutes. This milestone took hours.

Luis C. Isaza E said...


Thank you so very much for all you do on behalf of the MDCDEC. Those who follow your blog understand very well the importance of your work and the positive contribution you make to our Democratic Party's cause.

Keep up the good job.