CHICAGO — Barack Obama may have digs in D.C. but he hasn’t forgotten about Chicago. It’s just his kind of town, even if he is the president with a Pennsylvania Avenue official address. So, the commander-in-chief is back again in less than a month to do his part to rally the voters in a historical last stand on this Saturday, Oct. 30, in Grant Park.
Yes, it seems President Obama can’t get enough of his hometown and we are glad. So are the Democratic candidates that are running tight races, especially the governor and senator bids. The president was here a couple of weeks ago to stump for Alexi Giannoulias and Pat Quinn, filming a commercial for the gubernatorial candidate plus appearing at fund raisers. Even the first lady, Michelle, got in on the action swinging through Chitown to lend her voice to assist Democratic challengers in these last days leading up to the elections.
The president is back at the midnight hour. He will be the keynote speaker for a get-out-the-vote rally sponsored by the group I volunteer for, Organizing For America, a grass-roots organization created by Obama for America during his campaign for the White House.
Getting this Democratic party started is former President Bill Clinton at the Palmer House, a short walk from my neighborhood downtown on E. Monroe. Clinton will be getting voters “fired up,” with a pre-election-worthy address urging citizens of Chitown to immediately march over to City Hall following the rally and cast their votes.
Organizing for America has scheduled four such rally stops for the president; he’ll travel through Philly, Bridgeport, Conn., hit his hometown of Chicago Saturday, then off to Cleveland Sate University in Ohio, all in an effort to gather the votes. If past rallies are any indication of the number of voters Obama will draw Chitown can expect big numbers. In his last appearance at Grant Park, Obama was celebrating his presidential win back in 2008 with thousands of supporters enjoying a free, open air, unique public get-together.
This event the last weekend before Election Day has Grammy Award-winning hip hop artist Common performing. The recording artist also happens to be a South Side resident of Chitown, like the president.
So what do the candidates think about all this political hoopla on the eve of the big Tuesday election? Senate candidate Mark Kirk, of course, doesn’t think the high-profile candidate’s appearances will make too much of an impact. But he’s a Republican. The huge, free outdoor rallies are how the Democrats roll these days, not losing sight of the number of young voters they can swing their way. And, don’t forget, it has worked before. But Kirk thinks voters will be considering their wallets and purses come Election Day.
Spokespeople from Giannoulias’ camp say Chicago voters will be happy to see two of the top Demo, President Obama and Clinton live, up close and personal. They have a message that can inspire constituents in these final hours, especially the undecided. What’s the message? Given time, presidents Obama and Clinton are working tirelessly to fix our economy, create jobs to get people back to work and move the U.S. forward to better days ahead. I think everyone wants that for our country.
As for Democratic candidates Quinn, and Giannoulias, this rally may just be their last opportunity to realize their political dreams for victory here in Chicagoland. Heck, the race has had that neck-in-neck excitement throughout the entire campaign; I’m betting it’s going to be a close one come Tuesday on Election Day. Put your walking shoes on and I’ll see you at Grant Park, Jackson and Columbus; Sat., 11am-2pm! Don’t forget your cameras!
Map of Grant Park is here.
The L (subway) to Grant Park: Get off at Randolph/Wabash stop. Info on trains or buses is here and here.