I was streaming President Obama's Rally @ the University of Wisconsin live, yesterday, via the Barack Obama website. According to Rachel Maddow, the University police reported that there were 26,000+ people in attendance at the Rally.
photo: University of Wisconsin Sept 28, 2010
Prior to the start of the Rally, Ben Harper shared his thoughts on voting with Organizing for America.
photo: Ben Harper @ sound check yesterday
Ben Harper: I’m here in Madison to beat back my own apathy and be proactive. It’s crucial to get out and vote. If you don’t vote, you don’t have the right to complain. I pledge to vote. I always vote. It’s one of the great American opportunities. And although I can’t sit here and tell you to vote, to be an active member of the community you’ve got to vote. Direct action beats bureaucracy nine times out of 10. Imagine if you didn’t have the right to vote. One of the most crucial social and political statements you can make is to take the time to put pen to paper or to punch the paper.
During the Rally, Ben played "Two Hands" and "Better Way." I haven't found video of his performance, yet. But I did finally locate a video of the President's speech:
Here's my favorite part of his speech. If you want to hear Obama say it himself, it starts at approx 30:00 min into the above video.
So me and Russ Feingold and Tammy Baldwin, we all went down into the ditch. And we put on our boots, and it was muddy down there and dirty and dusty and we were sweating and we’re pushing the car out of the ditch. And every so often, we’d look up and see the Republicans standing there. They’re just standing there sipping on a Slurpee -- -- and waving at us. And we’d say, “Well, come on down and help.” They’d say, “No, no, no, but you should push harder. You’re not pushing the right way.”
But we understood we had to get the car out of the ditch so we’re pushing and we’re pushing. Finally -- finally -- we get it up on level ground. Finally we get it up on level ground. And look, let’s face it, it’s a little dented and a little busted and it needs a tune-up and the fenders all need to be hammered out a little bit, new paint job. But we’re finally on level ground, we’re moving. Suddenly we get a tap on the shoulder and we look behind us and who is it? It’s the Republicans. And they’re asking for the keys back.
And we’ve got to tell them, you can’t have the keys back. You don’t know how to drive. You don’t know how to drive. You don’t know how to drive. You can’t have them back.
I mean, I hope everybody has noticed when you want to go forward in your car, what do you do? You put it in “D.” When you want to go backwards, you put it in “R.” Don’t go back into the ditch. That’s not a coincidence. That’s not a coincidence, people.
So ultimately, whether they get the keys back is up to you. Look, there is no question the other side is excited. They have been pumped up to think that Obama is a socialist, and he’s this and he is that, and he’s for big government, and he’s responsible for all the -- look, they have been fed a lot of information.
And there’s some well-meaning people out there who are understandably scared of debt and deficits, and they see what’s going on. They see jobs being shipped overseas, and they’re not sure what’s happening. And we are in charge. And they’re saying, well, why hasn’t change happened faster?
And so you can persuade them maybe to give the Republicans the keys back if they’re not hearing the other side of the argument. So a lot of them are fired up. And thanks to a recent Supreme Court decision, they are being helped along this year, as I said, by special interest groups that are allowed to spend unlimited amounts of money on attack ads. They don’t even have to disclose who’s behind the ads. You’ve all seen the ads. Every one of these groups is run by Republican operatives. Every single one of them -- even though they’re posing as nonprofit groups with names like Americans for Prosperity, or the Committee for Truth in Politics, or Americans for Apple Pie. I made that last one up.
But this is why -- look, this is why we’ve got to work even harder in this election. This is why we’ve got to fight their millions of dollars with millions of our voices, voices who are ready to finish what we started in 2008.
Because if everybody who fought for change in 2008 shows up to vote in 2010, we will win. We will win. The polls say the same thing. We will win.
For the full transcript of the speech go here.
ARE YOU REGISTERED TO VOTE? Have you moved since the last time you voted? Changed your legal name? If so, then you need to fill out a new form. You cannot register to vote online. You must go to this website, print out the form for your state, put it in an envelope, and mail it in. Deadlines for some states are as early as Oct 1 if you plan to vote on Nov 2.
Not going to be home on Nov 2? No problem. You can still vote, but you must request an Absentee Ballot from your home state, and have it sent to you at college, or wherever you will be on Nov 2, so that you can vote by mail. Go here to request your Absentee Ballot.
Need a reminder phone call before Election Day, to make sure you get to the polls? Pick your favorite musician from this list and they'll call you to remind you to vote.
How about Willie Nelson? He'll call you ...
I know which musician this car owner would want to get an Election Day reminder phone call from:)
PS - I discovered that Obama made a surprise visit to Madison, Wisconsin's La Follette High School yesterday, too. I love these photos of Obama with the students! Here's my favorite: