NYT's Sheryl Gay Stolberg has the report from the first Obama-Sestak event in Philly. The highlights: The presumably squash-playing Arlen Specter was a no-show, the rather large hall was only one third full, there was no mention of the White House job offer and the campaign isn't sure how much money it raised.
Jonathon Dworkin, spokesman for Sestak, said they had sold nearly 1,000 tickets for the two events. The first event, a general reception in a hall inside the Philadelphia convention center, tickets went for $50 to $250 (they kept some cheap for college students.) For the second, a dinner and reception, the price was $1000 and $2400. He’s unsure how much they raised.
The general reception took place in a big hall that was filled to only about a third of its capacity. Several hundred were there, many dressed in blue Sestak campaign T-shirts. They were enthusiastic – the line about driving the car into the ditch got the usual big cheer – but overall it felt somewhat flat, and the president’s rousing stemwinder of a finish seemed more raucous than the crowd was in response.
The candidate introduced the president with a biblical story, calling him a ‘’warrior, who is truly a leader in that mission of Tikkun Olam’’ – a reference that, loosely translated from the Hebrew, means ‘’repairing the world.’’
The president ran through a version of his standard stump speech – you will get a transcript. He did not mention that officials in his White House had at one time tried to talk Mr. Sestak out of this race. Arlen Specter, who had greeted Mr. Obama at the airport, did not come.
Here are some quotes/ pls check transcript:
“The choice in this election could not be clearer and the stakes could not be higher,’’ Mr. Obama said. “Everybody’s been talking about insiders in Washington, well, Joe’s not one of the insiders whose been part of the problem. Instead he’s been solving problems in Washington. He didn’t go there with a liberal or a conservative agenda – he went to serve the people of Pennsylvania just like he’s served his country for the past three decades.’’
“In Washington they make the distinction between show horses and workhorses. And Joe’s a workhorse.”
Of Republicans, he said, “The easiest thing to do is to not put forward any specifics and plans, but just try to ride that anger and fear all the way to the election , and that’s whats happening right now.’’
And “A lot has changed since this last election but what hasn’t changed is the choice that we face in this country. Its still fear vs hope, its still past v future, its still the choice between sliding backwards and moving forward.’’