Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

"Born to Run" Barack Obama at Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel concert says "don't underestimate our ability to screw it up"


Barack Obama--after appearing with John McCain at the Alfred Smith dinner--hit the Hammerstein Ballroom on 34th Street in Manhattan for a mega-bucks fund-raiser concert with Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel who were joined by John Legend and India Arie. John Sykes, Harvey Weinstein and Anna Wintour were the producers.

Michelle and "Born to Run" Barack listened from back stage and when the band played "Signed Sealed Delivered," at the end, the Obama's did a little dance and hip bumping.

Obama has been urging his backers not to get cocky as his poll lead grows. "Don't underestimate the capacity of Democrats to snatch defeat from
the jaws of victory," Obama said. "Don't underestimate our ability
to screw it up."

Pool Report - No. 4
Oct. 16, 2008
New York City

NO NEWS, BUT SEE END QUOTE: "Don't underestimate our ability to screw it up."

Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel were well into their act - playing
the same time, the same stage - when your pool arrived at the
Hammerstein Ballroom around 10:30 p.m. By this hour, the scheduled had
called for Senator Barack Obama to already be making his remarks, but
tonight things were operating on Bruce time.
And not a soul seemed to mind - why would they? - as Billy Joel
weighed in with a long reprise of "New York State of Mind."

After hearing it at countless rallies, "The Rising," was played live
for Obama fans who filled all tiers of the giant ballroom on West 34th
Street in Manhattan. For a moment, Springsteen jumped onto the grand
piano as Billy Joel played "Allentown." And later, Billy grabbed a
guitar and joined Bruce for "Glory Days."

John Legend and India Arie joined the two on stage in an upbeat
rendition of "People Get Ready," the old Negro spiritual from the era
of the Underground railroad.

The fund-raising concert benefited the Obama Victory Fund. No total
estimate was provided, but tickets ranged from a balcony seat ($500,
which sold out quickly) to a lounge ticket for $25,000. The ballroom's
event manager said 1,959 people were on hand.

Except for that monetary detail, it would have been easy to forget
that this was an Obama event at all. Until, of course, The Boss took
his microphone and, surrounded by the other singers said, "Ladies and
Gentlemen, you want to bring on the next president of the United
States, Barack Obama!"

The senator took the stage at 11:25 p.m.

"What a magical evening," Mr. Obama said, "which I will not spoil
with a long speech."

Mr. Obama said that he and his wife had been listening to the music backstage.

"I called her over and said honey, the reason I'm running for
president is I can't be Bruce Springsteen. I can't be Billy Joel. I
can't sing like John Legend and India Arie," he said. "All I have is
words. In some ways words are always inadequate. You guys have just
heard four of the finest musicians in the world."

He added, "Sorry, Bruce and Billy, but I grew up with you all."
In addition to the performers, Mr. Obama also thanked the concert's
producers who also are prominent supporters: John Sykes, Harvey
Weinstein and Anna Wintour.

Mr. Obama had shed his white tie and he wore an open-collared shirt
and a dark suit as he stood at center stage alone. A few people
trickled out, but most stayed and fell into a hush as he told several
stories of people who he has met throughout his 20-month campaign.

"The point is, all across this country," Mr. Obama said, "the people
that Billy and Bruce sing about, every day they get up and they are
working hard."

He spoke for 25 minutes. It was a streamlined version of his stump
speech, particularly highlighting the challenges of the economy.

"This is the moment when we are being tested. This is the time when
we are going to have to look back 10 years from now, 20 years from now
and say, did we lose our nerve? Did we lose our sense of purpose? Or
did we rise up and come together?"

Mr. Obama urged his supporters to buckle down and do more than send money.

"Don't underestimate the capacity of Democrats to snatch defeat from
the jaws of victory," Mr. Obama said. "Don't underestimate our ability
to screw it up."

He added, "I want everybody running scared. Over the next 18 days,
other than your family and your job, I want you to make a decision
that there is nothing more important than bringing about this change
that we need."

He closed with a classic tune of his own: "Fired up, Ready to Go!"
Yes, that's right, cue the B-Roll for Edith Childs, Greenwood, S.C.

The band returned for an encore, "Signed Sealed Delivered," which
drew Michelle Obama out onto the stage to join her husband in a little
dance, a little hip bumping and a lot of clapping to the beat.

Jeff Zeleny
New York Times


Obama is going to tax me right out of a job. He has neither my respect or my vote. How about if he did some good for someone else with the millions upon millions he is spending on advertising? How about if he didn't say whatever was prudent on any given day, pandering to whomever is listening at the time?

Sarah spake thusly:

"Obama is going to tax me right out of a job."


That is absolutely absurd.

What are you basing this "logic" on?

You McCain people are really not listening. And of course you get Obama's comments out of context.
Obama is calm, cool and collected and a real role-model for our young people.
McCain's a great ol' guy, a hero for the 60s, but Obama is who we need in the Oval Office.

For God sake, one thing is dissagreing with Obama political profile, and another thing is the respect. I find Mr. Obama very respectable in his owm merits. Sarah, why would you disrespect the gentleman?

she must be from ohio.

sarah wrote "How about if he did some good for someone else with the millions upon millions he is spending on advertising"

now who's a socialist?

now, while charity is a noble cause, perhaps then Sen. McCain can let some people live in all of his houses, drive his cars to and from, and maybe Cindy McCain and all her millions could be donated to "someone else"

and realize, if the republicans had that much money to spend they would let's not indict obama because he has more money. that's un-american, according to Sen. McCain.

Let me correct Sarah: "Obama is going to tax us all out of jobs and into welfare".

As for respect: respect is earned. He hasn't earned mine.

Hey Scott,
Sarah's logic is based on Democrat's history. Combine this with the current Speaker of the House, Dem. Party Leader, party majority in the sanate along with the Obama as president. This will result in many more govenment programs with a huge spending agenda which will not be stopped if Obama is elected president. Obama will have no choice but to raise taxes regardless of what his claims are.

I am Independant and frankly, I am a bit unsettled with the prospects of an Obama presidency.


Obama will tax me out of a job as well. My husband and I have a consulting company and we are not in the tax bracket of $250 up. However, our clients who are other small, but larger than This will be the New New Deal (FDR's New Deal -- we are still mopping up that mess -- it brought us such disasters as Social Security tax and Fannie Mae). The underlying socialist agenda of the Obama/Pelosi/Reid government will do at least the same kind of damage -- spend spend spend on gigantic programs that nobody will properly manage, and tax heavily. History will repeat itself. During that time:
Taxes in the 1920s were 1%-25%
By 1936 it went to 4%-79%
(not including SS tax added in 1935 which tacked on another 2% -- now it's 6%, right?)
1941 taxes went to 23%-94%

With Obama/Pelosi/Reid there will be no checks and balances -- there will be no analysis of their actions -- just an unrestrained socialist agenda.

How is this not obvious?

No to socialism -- no to redistribution of wealth. Obama, I need to keep my own money, so I can take care of my own family first. This a a difficult concept for you I realize:

Family first, and after that, well, I think I'm a grown up, and I don't need the government deciding for me what MY charitable contributions should be. And I certainly wouldn't choose ACORN.

You complain about Obama, asking "How about if he didn't say whatever was prudent on any given day...?"
I actually like the idea of a President who thinks before he speaks, a President who IS prudent.
And wouldn't it be a refreshing change?

Out of work THREE times in layoffs during the past seven and half years of Bush bashing the middle class year by year. No health insurance right now except for the kids, about to lose our home and McCain WILL NOT change any of that. He ONLY cares about the rich, those with money. He thinks giving them the tax breaks will help me and it WILL NOT. This socialism red herring is a load of crap from Republicans WHO DO NOT CARE ABOUT ME OR MY FAMILY. PERIOD. I just should find a way to kill myself now and hope my wife and children can collect what little life insurance we have. WE (My family and my life) HAVE BE DESTROYED BY THE NEO-CON AGENDA. What is your answer to that, you sanctimonious, slogan-spouting, hate-breeding people?

Hi Sarah, just in response to the question "How about if he did some good for someone else with the millions upon millions he is spending on advertising?" He can't. I guess you're not aware that that would actually be illegal. It would be viewed as bribery - like paying people for their votes - which he's not allowed to do that. Plus he raised the money from people who gave it to him to use for his campaign. If he then used it for another purpose, although it might be well-intentioned, it would go against the understanding by the people who gave him the money of the use to which it was going to be put, so I'm sure you can see why that would be bad.

Scecil, as for you asking "How is this not obvious?", it's not obvious because it's not true. There is a huge difference between socialism and trying to make sure everyone has enough money to get by, and I think if you found yourself in a position where you were dependent on government support just to survive, which in the current financial situation could well become reality for a lot of people who never imagined it would, I think you would be able to see that difference, and I know you would be glad of the help. Also, perhaps you can explain to me what infinitely more important things the Bush administration is doing with your tax dollars? You also say that "Taxes in the 1920s were 1%-25%" - yes, and then there was the 1929 market crash, which is now widely accepted as the only financial disaster in history worse than the one we are currently facing. It led to the Great Depression, as I’m sure you know, and the New Deal was put in place as a solution, to end the depression and prevent such a disaster from happening again. The earliest beginnings of the current crisis came in the 70s, with the start of deregulation under Nixon, Ford, Carter and Reagan. Also, Fannie Mae was not a flawed concept from the time of its inception, it became problematic with the vast increase in sub-prime mortgages in recent years. The first signs of trouble appeared in 1999; almost ever since that time Fannie Mae has been under the watchful eye of the Bush administration, and the problem has grown unchecked for the last eight years. I'd recommend reading up a little on the New Deal, as well as deregulation and the sup-prime mortgage crisis. You need to have all the facts in order to be able to make the best possible decision come election day, and someone has obviously been giving you inaccurate information.

And smc - of course you care about your own family. So if you couldn't provide for them yourself, wouldn't you be glad to know that they would still be alright? Wouldn't you be glad to think that we had a president who made sure that America takes care of its own, just as you do for your family? I hope it won't be you, but in the near future many people will find that, financially, they are unable to fend for themselves, and they really need a little help. It’s not just one of those things that only ever happens to other people. It could be you. So this IS about you and your family. It’s about everyone.

How could Bruce?
I grew up very poor, but worked my way through college, worked 80 hours a week for over a year with no pay to start a business. We have 15 employees and are thinking about expanding and creating a new position in our current location. Not with Obama. His requirements will stop us from expanding, creating the new position will not happen and he could even require us to down-size and lay-off good people.
How is this fair? He reminds me of Marx.
So much for Bruce and being for the hard working Americans, let alone Obama.
A very disheartened fan...

By The People: The Election of Barack Obama is out on DVD jan 12 – it is a must see for all Americans

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on October 17, 2008 6:49 AM.

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