Presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) hit Philadelphia for a fund-raiser on Friday featuring former leading Clinton backers, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter. Pool Report by Amy Chozick of the Wall Street Journal.
"No hard news. Rendell made some characteristically colorful comments and Obama took a few jabs at John McCain.
Sen. Barack Obama attended a fundraiser at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Philadelphia. Roughly 400 people piled into a ballroom and snacked on appetizers waiting for Obama. Co-hosts for the event had to raise $10,000 and guests were asked for a maximum donation of $2,300 and a minimum of $1,000.
Mayor Michael Nutter gave a quick introduction for Sen. Bob Casey. He used the same line he repeated endlessly during the primaries when he was campaigning for Hillary Clinton. "Everyone knows the road to Pennsylvania Avenue goes right through Pennsylvnia," Nutter said, this time referring to Barack Obama, of course.
Casey had 30 seconds to introduce Gov. Ed Rendell, another top Clinton supporter during the primaries.
The introducers were so pressed for time that the three took turns, each saying a word. "We. Are. All. For. Barack. Obama."
Rendell told the crowd that some Obama supporters brought him a big carton of Kool-Aid and told him to "drink up” when Obama became the nominee.
"I gave Sen. Clinton $1,500 in the primary so I thought just for old-time sake I'd give Sen. Obama $1,499," Rendell said, sparking scattered boos from the crowd. The governor calmed them by saying "that was before I drank the Kool-Aide." He said that he has a check for $2,300 to give the Obama campaign.
"We're going to make sure this doesn't bounce," Obama said as he took the podium.
Obama thanked Casey first and said he was "one of the finest men in politics" who "stood with me when it was really a tough time to stand with me."
He then said it was a "relief" to have Ed Rendell ("a man who has no shortage for words") on his side. "How many cable shows can you be on at one time?" Obama asked Rendell, adding that he is "one of the finest governors in the country."
Obama praised Clinton, aware that he was flanked by some of her most diehard political supporters. He said that when he met with Clinton last week he said to her: "You're the only one who knows what I've gone through and I'm the only one who knows what you've gone through."
He said that Philadelphia needs change. "We don't have a choice but to win."
Obama retold the story of an unemployed man who offered to buy Obama and Casey a beer during one of their stops on the Pennsylvania bus tour. "Bob and I were at a sports bar trying to catch a little bit of the game. A guy offered to buy us a beer. We already had a beer we drank but he offered to buy us one," Obama said. The man could not afford gas to drive around looking for a new job.
Obama took several jabs at John McCain. He gave his standard line that he proposes "300 billion in tax cuts, not paid for."
“Not only does he have no plan for education, not an idea, not even a bad idea,” Obama said.
He told the crowd that he was in Wisconsin yesterday and asked how many people make $2.8 million. "I was going to say to them ‘You should leave now because John McCain is the candidate for you.”
At that point a wealthy female donor yelled out “Hey, that’s not fair!”
“Every once in a while what he really means slips out like yesterday on the Today Show,” Obama said of McCain’s comment about leaving troops in Iraq.
He warned that the general election campaign could get ugly. “They’re going to try to scare people. They’re going to try to say that ‘that Obama is a scary guy,’” he said. A donor yelled out a deep accented “Don’t give in!”
“I won’t but that sounded pretty scary. You’re a tough guy,” Obama said.
“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,” Obama said. “Because from what I understand folks in Philly like a good brawl. I’ve seen Eagles fans.”
After the fundraiser a supporter named Jack Goldenberg gave Lindy Douglass a “Time for Change” Obama wrist watch that says “Love your momma, vote Obama.” The man later told Linda that he invented cabbage patch kids and Pee Wee Herman toys and was “integral” in the invention of the Happy Meal. The watches sell for $50 at www.obamawatches.com.
Your pooler got a question in to Rendell about how it feels to now be supporting Obama. “It’s good he’s a good man.” Rendell said he spoke to Clinton on Thursday and Saturday after her concession speech. “She was in good spirits,” he said.