What a difference two years make.
In April 2008, a multi-racial crowd of 35,000 jammed Independence Mall, where then-candidate Barack Obama proclaimed:
I’m running to change the game in Washington. I’m not running to fit in Washington. I’m running to change Washington.
Two years later, President Obama is running to try to stop the Republican wave that would change Congress back into GOP control.
Yesterday, I attended the “Moving America Forward” rally in Germantown, a predominantly black, economically distressed neighborhood in north Philadelphia.
The crowd estimate ranges from 10,000 to 18,500 people. Whatever the size, at least 90 percent were black.
Vice President Joe Biden introduced Obama:
Well, folks, we’re getting up. And we’re getting up with the help of the man I’m about to introduce. Ladies and gentlemen, we’re starting to grow our way out of this Republican debacle of the last eight years. We’re creating jobs. We’re building a new clean energy future. We’re making college affordable to middle-class folks again.
Obama said his victory two years ago was “just the start”:
But that was just the start. Because we understood what we were going up against. The only thing that the election did was it gave us the chance to make change happen. It made each of you a shareholder in the mission of rebuilding our country and reclaiming our future. And Philly, I’m back here two years later because our job is not yet done and the success of our mission is at stake right now. On November 2nd, I need you as fired up as you were in 2008.
It’s so difficult to manufacture enthusiasm. When the president gets back on Air Force One and leaves, how much of the energy and excitement from a rally will remain with voters?
Indeed, it remains an open question whether black voters will turn out for the largely unknown Democratic candidates in Senate and gubernatorial races.