At least 2,000 people attended President Barack Obama’s first re-election campaign for the 2012 presidential election at Chicago’s Navy Pier on Thursday night.
After delivering smaller speeches at N9NE Restaurant and MK Restaurant in Chicago, the Navy Pier was Obama’s third and last fundraiser of the night. Obama is expected to raise $2 million from the three events from Democratic National Committee, the Obama Victory fund and supporter’s tickets, ranging from $100 to a $35,800 per person.
“I became a man in Chicago,” said Obama. “It’s here where I realized America is so great.” Though born in Hawaii, Obama reminisced about how Chicago is where he fell in love, started a family and became a politician. “This is where we’ll be basing headquarters for the re-election campaign,” he announced. “It never happened outside of Washington D.C.”
Obama addressed the deep recession in the U.S. saying it’s turning around. “The economy is growing again,” he said. “We’re growing jobs.” The president also stressed on equal pay for men and women, improving education and healthcare, generating jobs and equality for homosexuals.
“I’ve fallen behind but getting ahead,” said Obama. On an international note, Obama discussed the Middle East especially America’s intervention in Libya. “We believe in stopping people from getting hurt,” he said. “That’s why we’re still working on Iraq.” In foreign policy, Obama gradually withdrew combat troops from Iraq and enforced the United Nations to sanction a no-fly zone over Libya.
Barack Obama is the 44th and the first African American to hold the office. Before his election to the presidency in November 2008 and taking office in 2009, Obama served as a senator from Illinois from January 2005. In early April, he announced his intention to seek re-election in the 2012 presidential election.
The fundraiser kicked off with speakers of the Generation Forty Four (Gen44), a Democratic National Committee (DNC) council of young Democratic leaders supporting President Obama’s agenda for change. Chicago Bulls players Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose and baseball legend, Ernie Banks, thanked the crowd for their support for Obama.
American pop singer, songwriter and guitarist, Colbie Caillat, then took the stage and sang a few of her greatest and latest singles. “I have to say, it’s honor being here today supporting our president,” she said.
Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s former chief of staff, introduced the president. “He has been an incredible president for this country,” he said. Rahm also recognized America’s recent progress saying, “America, again, is beginning to regain its leadership.”
“We’re going to need your help more this time than last time,” Rahm said. “We are all in this together,” said Obama as he concluded his speech. “We have to look out for each other.”
“We love you,” supporters shouted to Obama. “We still love you.” Many others yelled out, “Yes we can,” the slogan of Obama’s last campaign, as he spoke about his plans for change in the U.S. The crowd laughed as a young man shouted, “You still sexy!” to Obama.
Before arriving to Chicago for his fundraisers, Obama was in Washington where he met with Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani to discuss the NATO-led military operation in Libya.