|United States of America President Barack Obama|
CLEVELAND, OHIO - Barack Obama’s private airplane landed at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland, OH Thursday night to a cheering crowd of 12,000 people and neared the president to a podium where he spoke for nearly a half an hour on his political platform, the importance of early voting, and the necessity of winning Cleveland, Cuyahoga County and Ohio
And America's first Black president announced that he had won the endorsement of Republican Colin Powell, the first Black U.S. Secretary of State, who served under former president George W. Bush, and a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Bush. (Editor's note: Powell also endorsed the Democrat Obama for president in 2008).
“I just got the endorsement from Colin Powell,” said Obama. “I am glad to be back in Cleveland, Ohio.”
After recognizing Ohio Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-9), a Toledo Democrat, and U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton (D-13), a Copley Township Democrat who is in the fight of her political career this year, the president told his audience that Cuyahoga County and Ohio can make or break the election.
“We’re going to win Cleveland, we’re going to win Ohio, and we’re going to finish what we started,” the president said.
Obama said that one in eight people in Ohio work for the automobile industry that he helped resurrect from bankruptcy with stimulus money from the federal government, that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s claim to fame is an anti-Democratic $250,000 tax cut for the rich, and that as president he “will sustain the strongest military this country has ever seen.”
The Cone sisters, Ilama, Randi and Susie, three middle and upper class White women from the greater Cleveland area, are elated with Obama and said they came out to support him because he's best for all Americans, and because the election is touch and go, though the president leads Romney nationally, and by 5 percentage points in the pivotal state of Ohio, political polls show.
Members of the greater Cleveland's Black community were just as supportive, particularly elderly Black women that came to hear the president speak.
Cleveland Ward 9 resident Ada Norwood, an Obama volunteer and retired Cleveland schools business education teacher, said she has already voted for the president.
"A lot of people are voting early,” Norwood said. “I encourage churches and others in the community to make a list of 100 friends and family members and contact them to remind them to vote if they haven't already.”
Gennorris Williams- Head will be working the polls as a volunteer on election day.
“We have to get out the vote,” said Williams-Head.
Young and old, Black and White, middle class and poor were among the thousands of people that crammed into the outdoor corridor at Burke Lakefront Airport, Ohio's fourth largest airport, with Cleveland Hopkins International Airport topping that list.
But most, if not all of them, have one thing in common. They want President Obama reelected.
“I knew Martin Luther King and marched with Malcolm X, and it is awesome to have a Black president in office," said Joan Shaver Washington, 80, a Cleveland Ward 1 resident and retired quality control review specialist for the State of Ohio who, like Norwood and a host of others in Ohio and elsewhere, answered the president's call to vote early.
Shavers Washington was among 30 residents of Ward 1, Cleveland's strongest block of middle class Black voters, that took a bus to hear Obama, compliments of Elaine Gholstin, president and CEO of the Harvard Community Services Center in Cleveland.
“I’m was impressed by the number of people that came out tonight and how the plane landed,” said Gholstin.
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