President Barack Obama today summoned the spirit of the late Ted Kennedy and railed against his predecessor in the White House at a rally for supporters of Democrat Martha Coakley in Boston. On Tuesday, Coakley will stand against Republican Scott Brown in a special election to fill the Massachusetts Senate seat previously held by Kennedy.
“On Tuesday you have the unique and special responsibility to fill the Senate seat you sent Ted Kennedy to fill for nearly 47 years. And I am here to tell you that the person for that job is your attorney general, Martha Coakley,” Obama said. “The first person who would agree with that was Ted Kennedy.”
The president tipped his hat to a city that launched his national political profile after his speech here before the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
Before 1,500 people at the Cabot Center and another 2,500 in an overflow space at Northeastern University, Obama and fellow Democrats criticized Brown as aiming to uphold the policies of George W. Bush. The rally was open to the public, and more than 1,000 people were turned away. Ticketed VIPs crowded around the stage, waving Coakley signs and chanting “Martha! Martha!”
From federal deficits to the meltdown of the financial system and the war in Iraq, Massachusetts political all-stars offered a unified message: Republicans put the country in a hole and Democrats must pull it out.
“Now what we’re proposing is to make sure that taxpayers get their money back from the rescue that we had to engage in at the beginning of this year thanks to the bad regulatory policies of the previous
administration,” Obama said. “And so we asked Martha’s opponent, what he’s going to do? And he decided to park his truck on Wall Street.”
Obama spoke glowingly of Coakley’s rise from a large working-class family to become an attorney who sought the public interest.
“We’ve got so much work to do,” Obama said. “As much progress as we’ve made, I can’t do it [alone]. I need leaders like Martha by my side.”
Dressed in a black blazer, white shirt and no tie, Obama shared the stage as Coakley looked on in a black pin-stripped pantsuit. Obama was interrupted by an anti-abortion protester who yelled into the crowed “Abortion sheds innocent blood!” and holding a sign saying “JESUS LOVES ALL BABIES,” the unidentified, middle-aged white man was led away by Boston police as the crowd shouted over his cries.
Just before Obama’s speech, Coakley echoed the unified Democratic message of Republican mishandling of national priorities.
“We all know that this economy is stuck in an incredible recession,” Coakley said. “We know that people are angry … We need to hold the people accountable who created this mess.”
Sen. John Kerry also made an appearance, echoing his colleagues.
“Our difficulties were inherited,” Kerry said. “Scott Brown and the people in his party are the people who created this mess. Now he wants to be rewarded with a term in the United States Senate.”
After registering a 31-point lead in November, Coakley has slipped into a dead-heat with Brown, poll trends dismissed by Boston mayor Thomas Menino.
“They don’t mean a damn thing until the polls come in at 8 o’clock on Tuesday,” Menino said.
Rep. Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island, son of the late Ted Kennedy, told The Daily Caller that Coakley’s problems in a state with party registrations favoring her by a 3-to-1 margin is because she belongs
to the party in power.
“Everybody understands in elections it’s more people voting against something than voting for something,” Kennedy said. “People are angry, that’s why they’re coming out. It could be Brown or anybody else. He’s the candidate that’s the candidate of the opposite of the status quo.
That’s why he’s so getting the ride right now.”
Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts gave additional possible reasons for the tightening race.
“A special election in the winter is a tough thing for people to focus on,” Frank said. “She allowed it to become a personality campaign. Once she realized what the consequences of that were and how
skillfully he had downplayed his conservatism and projected this image of ‘Aw shucks, I’m just a nice guy that drives a truck with two daughters,’ now that the issues have come forward, it is better.”
Should Coakley lose, Obama’s favorability ratings won’t be affected, according to Rep. Ed Markey of Massachusetts.
“It’s like talking about the Beatles, Elvis Presley. His ratings are not going down. He’s a superstar,” Markey said.
Markey told The Daily Caller that the grassroots conservative “tea-bag” movement is in sharp contrast to the tea party movement that helped sparked the American Revolution.
“The tea party movement here in Massachusetts began the American Revolution and it was a revolution that said to King George, ‘Keep your agenda out of Massachusetts, keep it back there in England where
it belongs,’” Markey said. “And that’s what we’re saying now to the Republicans, ‘Keep your King George Bush era, your King George Bush agenda back in Texas where it belongs. You’re not going to get a vote from Massachusetts for a Texas oil, and gas and health-care agenda. ‘”
Video of Obama Campaigning