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Obama Nomination Speech on Big Screen at Local Theater

citizen | 9/12/2012, 3:54 p.m.
On Thursday, the last night of the Democratic National Convention, held in Charlotte, N.C., President...
Dozens of Obama supporters filled theater 10 at I.C.E. Chatham Sept. 6 to watch and listen as Pres. Barack Obama gave his speech accepting the Democratic presidential nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. Photo by Rhonda Gillespie

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McKinley Brister and his wife Mary attended the event at I.C.E. Chatham Sept. 6 to watch and listen as Pres. Barack Obama gave his speech accepting the Democratic presidential nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. The event was sponsored by African Americans for Obama.

On Thursday, the last night of the Democratic National Convention, held in Charlotte, N.C., President Barack Obama accepted the partys nomination in a speech that asked of Americans patience --- and for four more years in office.

Here in Chicago, African Americans for Obama organization hosted a watch event at I.C.E. Theaters Chatham where a few dozen people turned out and watched the presidents speech on a giant movie screen. The president enumerated the work his administration had done since he took office in 2008, pointing out bailouts of the banking and auto industries; what the president called strides in job creation; and other initiatives he said continues to help the country emerge albeit slowly from a deep recession.

The president stated his case and his claims and put the ball in voters court to make the choice in the November election. The president asked Americans for help.

So help me. Help me recruit 100,000 math and science teachers within 10 years and improve early-childhood education. Help give two million workers the chance to learn skills at their community college that will lead directly to a job. Help us work with colleges and universities to cut in half the growth of tuition costs over the next 10 years. We can meet that goal together. You can choose that future for America, said the president, who is hailed as an exceptional orator.

Watchers at the theater gave the president their intent attention, intermittently offering cheers, applause and brief chants.

The president offered his own mea culpa, acknowledging that the change he promised on the 2008 campaign trail has been slow.

America, I never said this journey would be easy, and I wont promise that now, he said.I recognize that times have changed since I first spoke to this convention. The times have changed, and so have I.

Then the president offered a zinger that brought the convention and the theater crowds to their feet in rousing applause.

Im no longer just a candidate. Im the president.

The presidents speech was meant to energize his base of supporters and woo some whove grown despondent, including some Independents, some white women and the dwindling middle-class.

He went into Thursdays speech with a 49 percent approval rating for how hes handling the economy, but with likability ratings well into the 60 percentile. The presidents speech came one week to the day after former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney accepted the Republican presidential nomination.

Both men were looking to their conventions and speeches to give them a bump in the polls that have them in a dead heat in the race for president.

As the president faces criticism from some African American luminaries about how much Obama has done for the Black community, directly, people like Vicky Johnson defend him.

Johnson was at the theater to watch the speech and told the Chicago Citizen at the end of it that she was more in support of the president now than before.

I give him a 10 out of 10, she said rating Obamas work as president. Hes not the African American president hes the president of the United States. Hes got to work for all folks. We cant be that narrow minded.

Johnson, 54, has vested interest in the health care debate since being diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. Recently and fortunately, she said she became eligible for Medicaid.

Earlier this summer the Supreme Court upheld the presidents health plan and Republicans have promised to repeal should they win in November

I dont trust that Romney or Ryan is going to do right by me as far as health care goes, she said.

McKinley Brister was celebrating his 87th birthday the night Obama spoke. The WWII veteran and former public school teacher has high regard for Obama.

Its clear that we were at the brink of disaster. This man took the country over and brought it back, he said.

By Rhonda Gillespie