Oct 31, 2010 1 Comment ›› Pat Dollard
CLEVELAND — President Obama wrapped up a weekend of last-minute campaigning in Ohio on Sunday, addressing Democrats in an indoor arena that, in a sign of the “enthusiasm gap” that the president is working so hard to close, was little more than half full.
About 8,000 people attended the Democratic National Committee’s Moving America Forward’ rally at Cleveland State University’s Wolstein Center, a hall where the capacity is 13,000. The rafters were largely empty.
Organizers noted the president was competing on a Sunday afternoon with church, football and Halloween. And Mr. Obama drew a huge crowd of about 35,000 when he was in nearby Columbus, Ohio, in an earlier October rally. Still, the thin crowd was perhaps a foreboding sign in the waning days of the midterm races, when Mr. Obama, who was joined Sunday by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., considers getting Democrats to the polls his most important mission.
Mr. Obama was in Ohio to give a final push to Gov. Ted Strickland, who is in a tight race for re-election. Lee Fisher, the lieutenant governor and Democratic Senate candidate, also attended, and Mr. Obama gave a pitch for him as well, though he is trailing badly behind his Republican opponent.
“We’ve got to get Cleveland out to vote!” Mr. Obama said. “We’ve got to get everybody in Ohio out to vote.’’
He made a pitch for early voting: “There is early voting just a few blocks from here, so you can go right after this rally if you haven’t voted. Because if everyone who fought for change in 2008 shows up to vote in 2010, we will win this election, I’m confident that we will.’’