Photo by Curt Yeomans
Jonesboro resident Rachel Butler (left) and Stockbridge Barbara Arradondo applaud for speeches given Thursday night during the Democratic national convention. Southern Crescent Obama supporters held a convention watch party in Jonesboro to see the president address the convention.
JONESBORO — Lorette Batiste said President Barack Obama took her on a time traveling trip Thursday night when he delivered his speech to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.
Batiste, who is the deputy regional field director for Obama’s campaign office in Clayton County, said she was reminded of a time when he only was a candidate seeking a first term with a message of hope.
He stirred up those same feelings within her this week when he talked about the country being able to meet and solve any challenges and problems it faces, she said.
“The speech re-ignited the Democratic party,” said Batiste. “It gave me that feeling — like it was back in 2008 — like there’s nothing we can’t do. We can accomplish anything because we are united together as a group. We are united together as a people.”
Batiste and other Obama supporters from across the Southern Crescent gathered at the president’s campaign office in Jonesboro Thursday night to hear him make his case for re-election. Thirty-three people huddled together in a corner of the office, giving the gathering a quaint feeling like a group of friends had gathered in a living room to watch the speech.
During his speech, the president called on Americans to “rally around” goals his administration has for improving manufacturing, energy, education and national security, while also reducing the national debt. “That’s what we can do in the next four years and that is why I’m running for a second term as president of the United States,” he said.
Rachel Dauphin said the speech made her emotional, particularly when the president addressed the hot button topics of immigration and health care reform.
“I had to fight back tears throughout the entire thing because it was very moving,” said Dauphin, whose family has had to deal with immigration issues. “A lot of the things he had to say about immigration law were very important to me.”
Riverdale resident Frances Gordon-Dixon added, “He really made his case for a choice” between himself and Republican candidate Mitt Romney.
Batiste said she felt it was one of the best speeches of Obama has ever given.
“I think it was very powerful,” said Batiste afterward. “Like he said, when he started out in 2004, he was a young man, and we’ve all grown and evolved. As a president of the United States, it’s about taking charge ... For me personally, it was probably on the same level of the speech he gave in 2004, when he talked about the audacity of hope because this is about giving people that hope back.”
After the speech ended, she urged attendees at the watch party to remember what Obama said, and work hard to get him re-elected. Their singular goal should be to “win in 2012,” she said.
“We’ve got 60 days to get it done,” said Batiste. “We’ve got to knock on those doors. We’ve got to call everybody that we know. We’ve got to walk these streets and inform them of the right and the wrong.”
Like Batiste, Stockbridge residents Barbara Arradondo and Janet Jenkins said they felt Obama gave the kind of speech that will “fire up” the Democratic base as it heads into the final two months of the 2012 presidential election season.
“I expected brilliance and I got it,” said Jenkins.
Arradondo added, “I think the Republicans have got something to worry about.”
Jenkins echoed the comments Obama made about turning the nation around not being an easy process. She said it was impossible for him to restore the country to its pre-recession place in just four years, but she said she believes the nation has been able to make progress under the president’s leadership.
“This man has proved he can lead,” she said. “This mess was so deep and so wide when he took office, but I think they are turning the corner.”