Saturday, September 20, 2014
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LIVE: Obama at Widener University

Barack Obama campaigns in the rain in Chester

LIVE: Obama at Widener University

 

10:25 a.m.

He's winding it up now, urging everyone to go out on Election Day and win Pennsylvania. Now, everyone can get out of the rain.

10:18 a.m.

Obama keeps sprinkling his remarks with references to the weather, saying, for instance, "The fact that all of you are here today show you are ready for change." And so on. It's a little hard to ignore the elements. He has trimmed his prepared remarks a little. Which makes a lot of sense, all things considered. "I don't want people to be so cold that you end up not being able to vote," he says, explaining why he's going to cut it a little short. But not that short.

10:08 a.m.

Obama starts by commenting on the conditions, saying that the people who are here show this kind of dedication on Election Day, he will win. He's standing in the open, wearing a ski jacket. After a few jokes about global warming and its absence today, he's into his standard speech, urging his supporters not to be complacent and work hard.

He talks about the news that executives of financial firms getting government help are going to get bonuses. "On Wall Street, they call it a bonus. Here in Pennsylvania, we call it an outrage." Talks about John McCain's efforts to separate himself from George Bush and says, "John McCain had ridden shotgun while George Bush has driven the economy into a ditch." On taxes, Obama says, saying that McCain is running for a third Bush term "isn't fair to George Bush," citing McCain's proposed tax cuts.

9:58 a.m.

Actually, the crowd is bigger than I initially thought. The quad at Widener isn't full. But there are thousands of people here. And conditions aren't getting any better. Obama has arrived. The crowd reaction is a little muted. Hard to cheer when you're frozen and you don't want to take your hands out of your pockets.

9:47 a.m.

The traveling press has arrived, which is a very good sign. The sooner the show gets started, the better for everybody. The conditions are hideous. The people who've come out today must really want to be here. These kind of events in these kind of conditions tend to happen in the final week of a presidential candidate, when the weather starts to get iffy and November looms. And they aren't fun for anyone, particularly the voters. We in the press, at least, are getting paid to be here.

9:35 a.m.

Despite rain, cold and heavy winds, the outdoor rally at Widener University in Chester is on. Like Major League Baseball on Monday night, the Obama campaign has decided to ignore the elements and keep going with Plan A. The McCain campaign has canceled an outdoor even scheduled for the early afternoon in Quakertown.

There are a few thousand hardy souls here, far fewer than would have been here under more benign conditions. In deference to the conditions, the Secret Service has waived the normal rule about no umbrellas. But, of course, a lot of people thought umbrellas would be banned. So they didn't bring them. And they're getting drenched.

Gov. Rendell, wearing a Phillies cap, congratulates the crowd for coming out. And he congratulates Obama for rooting for the Phillies. Word is that the event may start a few minutes early. That would be a good idea.

Click here for Philly.com's politics page.

About this blog

The Inauguration: Jan. 20 blog brings you coverage of President-elect Barack Obama's transition into office.

It's written by political journalists from the Philadelphia Inquirer. Send us your comments -- and news tips -- at this address.

Thomas FitzgeraldThomas Fitzgerald joined The Philadelphia Inquirer in 2000, and has covered Harrisburg as well as city, state and national politics for the newspaper. He was a “boy on the bus” in the 2004 presidential campaign and during primary contests in 2000 and 1996.

Nathan Gorenstein has covered politics and government in the city, state and nation for the Inquirer. He's worked in the city hall bureau, had a stint on the business desk, and once covered the suburbs. After serving as assistant regional editor, he was named editor of the "Politics" web site.

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