"Republicans hoped you would forget who started this mess in the first place," President Obama said this afternoon, before a roaring crowd of 10,000 at Seattle's University of Washington campus. "This election is a choice between moving forward and falling backward."
That was the message repeated from the podium all afternoon (and, actually, from most of the audience members I spoke to as well) as President Obama delivered a campaign speech supporting Sen. Patty Murray that touched on unemployment, education funding, and shady Republican campaign donations.
"They don't have the courage to stand up and disclose their donors," Obama said, referring to the corporations that have anonymously funneled donations into national races through political non profits. "That's not just a threat to Democrats. That's a threat to our democracy." (You can follow Josh's sorta obsessive coverage of this 2010 campaign story by starting here.)
Obama spoke to a crowd made up mostly of UW students who had waited since the early morning in a line that snaked for at least a mile. The kids were beaming with support ("We love you!"), but wasn't without its detractors: "Repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell!" someone hollered out in the middle of Obama's speech.
He pressed the need for investments in education in the coming budget processes. "China's not cutting education 20 percent. Korea's not cutting eduction 20 percent," Obama said. He went on to paint Republicans as obstructionists and rallied voters to turn in their ballots today The crowd answered by waving red Patty Murray signs and rising to a eardrum-rattling volume.
Obama repeated a metaphor he used last time he was in Seattle, at a meeting of big Murray donors. When the Republicans were in charge, Obama said, they drove "America's car" into a ditch, and now Democrats are down there trying to push it out. "Patty, even though she's small, she's tough. And even though I'm skinny, I'm tough," Obama said.
Now Republicans want the keys back. "You can't have the keys back," Obama said. "You don't know how to drive."
While Murray spoke, the President nodded and smiled, as the crowd of over 10,000 hooted and screamed like they were at a UW basketball game. ""We have a great president," said Murray, to deafening applause.
"This election is about pushing forward," she said.
Also on the roster: Jay Inslee, going with sports metaphors, said Murray was the only one who could unite Cougars and Huskies. He compared the diminutive Murray to Nate Robinson, a point guard guard for the Boston Celtics and Rainier Beach alum. "Patty Murray has a jump reach like Nate Robinson," Inslee said.
King County Executive Dow Constantine and U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA, 6) both lauded Murray for bringing home Federal funds. Constantine thanked Murray for providing funding for the Howard Hanson Dam and South Park Bridge replacement projects.
"Patty Murray is my essential ally on the Appropriations Committee," said Rep. Dicks (Murray and Dicks both sit in powerful positions on the committee in their respective chambers).
Gov. Christine Gregoire drove home the theme of the afternoon: "We are in a mess that others have created," Gregoire said. "With Patty Murray's help, we are getting out of that mess."