President Obama joined an assortment of Maryland politicians at Bowie State University on Oct. 7 to campaign for the state’s incumbent Democrats, Gov. Martin O’Malley, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and Sen. Barbara Mikulski, Congressman Elijah Cummings, and others.
“Right now you have pundits saying the other party’s supporters are more excited,” Obama said. “They’re saying they’ll turn out in higher numbers. They’re saying that all of us who worked so hard in 2008 might not be as pumped up, might not be as energized or might not care as much. Maryland, I think the pundits are wrong but it’s up to you to prove them wrong. Don’t make me look bad now.”
Several speakers preceded Obama, O’Malley, Brown and Mikulski including Democratic nominee for Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, State Sen. Thomas V. “Mike” Miller, Rep. Elijah Cummings, Rep. Donna Edwards, Rep. Steny Hoyer and U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin.
The message from all the speakers was clear: Democrats must be allowed to continue the work that they started the day after Obama’s inauguration.
“We want to let the president know that he’s come to Prince George’s County in the final seconds of the game, he’s our coach and he wants to give us the ball,” Edwards said. “Yes, Mr. President we want the ball. Here in this county, we want the ball to take the final shot to re-elect Martin O’Malley and Lt. Gov. Brown – the best team in the country for education, jobs and opportunity.
Those present touted the O’Malley administration’s accomplishments, including freezing college tuition for Maryland institutions four years in a row, claiming that O’Malley’s predecessor, Bob Ehrlich, raised tuition 40 percent in his tenure, and that O’Malley is linked to the creation of 35,000 new jobs in Maryland in 2010, the most since 2000.
Several speakers addressed the rise of the Tea Party movement, saying that the far-right leaning party has no place in Maryland politics.
“234 years ago in Annapolis Harbor, what did we do,” Miller asked the crowd rhetorically. “We burned their ships, we dumped them overboard and we put their tea in the middle of Annapolis Harbor. When we’re through with them, they’re going to be in the Chesapeake Bay floating out to sea and, hopefully, never to be heard from again.”
However, the message of the day was progress, as Obama compared the state of the country when he came into the Oval Office to a car in a ditch.
“Finally we’ve got this car up on level ground,” he said. “This car is a little beat up because drove it into a ditch. It’s got some dents. It needs a tune up. We want to start back on this road to prosperity, but suddenly we feel this tap on our shoulder. It’s the Republicans and they’re saying ‘We want the keys back.’
“You can’t have the keys back,” he continued. “You don’t know how to drive. We‘ll give you a ride if you want, but you got to sit in the back seat.”