Ohio Gov. Strickland Declares Obama Next President at Senior Forum on Retirement Security in Columbus

Ohio Gov. Strickland Declares Obama Next President at Senior Forum on Retirement Security in Columbus

OhioNews Bureau

COLUMBUS, OHIO: Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, whose political machine helped Hillary Clinton win the state from Sen. Obama in early March, stood Friday with the Democratic nominee for President and his wife, Michelle, at a small venue with senior citizens interested in the topic of retirement security and declared that the first-term senator from Illinois will beat Republican John McCain in November to win the White House.

Speaking to an invitation-only crowd of fewer than 50 seniors who were gathered in a small second-floor room at senior retirement center in Columbus, Ohio, Strickland, himself a first-term Democratic governor in a state that hasn’t seen one of his kind since 1991, told seniors seated in front of a phalanx of local and national media covering the event that those in attendance were “seeing here today the next president and the next first lady.”

“Ohio occupies a special place in the electoral system of our nation. As goes Ohio, so goes the nation, and we are totally committed to making sure that on November 4th Ohioans go to the polls and you are the next president of the united states,” Strickland told a small crowd that included residents and nearby neighbors.

One gentleman, speaking for his wife, declared themselves Republicans who were interested in keeping Social Security the way it is now, not privatized as Bush and McCain want to do, and who said they were tired of war and wanted America under its next president to recapture the respect and admiration it once enjoyed among nations of the world.

In early March, when Ohio held its primary a month after Super Tuesday on February 5th when two dozen states held their primaries and caucuses, Strickland and the Ohio Democratic Party machine he leads helped Sen. Hillary Clinton win Ohio.

But last Friday, Strickland, who had championed the New York senator even when the prospect for beating her challenger in the race for delegates seemed a long shot at best, spoke are forcefully for Obama as he had about Clinton and declared that Obama would win the White House in November

With his characteristic measured speaking pace, Strickland introduced Michelle Obama as the next First Lady of the United States and said she was making her first campaign appearance for the general election in Ohio.

Mrs. Obama, dressed in black pants and a forest green top, said that she and her husband would rather been seen not as the power couple Strickland had referred to them as but as power parents. Although Father's Day was two days away, Mrs. Obama spoke lovingly of the upcoming birthday on July 4th of one their two young daughters. In mother mode, her comments hit home with those in the audience who also were also parents and who seemed to understand the challenges a run for the presidency, which had been underway for 17 months by now, would put on their family.

“We love our girls as many of you love your children and grand children and for us making sure that we kept their lives hole and health was of the utmost importance to us,” she said with emotion in her voice. “The only reason we’re able to do this is because we have this wonderful support system around us.” Mrs. Obama said that number one on top of that list was her 70-year-old mother, who finally retired, maybe at the behest of Mrs. Obama and her oldest brother who have “been begging her since we started having kids.”

“She’s at home when we’re on the road, and there’s nothing like having grandma there,” she said of the peace of mind that comes from knowing a close family member is treating them ‘like queens.’”

In the spirit of the remarks her husband Barack was about to deliver on the need to safeguard social security so seniors don't end of living in poverty, Mrs. Obama said her mother is able to care for her grandchildren because of the pension she received from her husband, a city worker, who died but also from her social security payments.

“We know we couldn’t be who we are today not just because of our family but because we have seniors in our lives and the importance of having her (mother) there instilling the kind of values that she taught us in our girls is beyond measure,” she said, attributing the same concerns to Sen. Obama, who looked on in silence.

Mrs. Obama said that in her household “we know we have to do the utmost to make sure that our seniors are whole, health and thriving,” adding that her septuagenarian mother is active with Yoga. Being able to be with their grandchildren, Mrs. Obama said, was the result of “the element of financial security” she said “makes the world to our family and to our society.

“We have a vested interest in this society to make sure that our seniors have what they need to not only lead wonderful lives but continue to contribute to the generation that follows” Mrs. Obama said.

Being a burden is the biggest fear her mother has, she said, adding, “The man that I’m married to understands this and he’s going to fight for it, and he knows these issues inside and out and I’m so proud of the work that he’s done…and in this election he’s been a wonder to watch,” she said, making way for her husband, who she called the next president of the united states, to approach the podium without a fist bump in sight.

About the author
John Michael Spinelli is a former Ohio Statehouse government and political reporter and business columnist. He now serves as the OhioNews Bureau Chief for ePluribus Media Journal. Find ONB archives here. If readers have a news tip or story idea about Ohio politics or government, contact the OhioNews Bureau at: \n ohionews@epluribusmedia.org

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