CLEVELAND, Ohio – Perhaps the most impactful part of President Barack Obama’s speech here Thursday night wasn’t anything he said, but how he arrived.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP
President Barack Obama greets supporters on the tarmac upon his arrival on Air Force One at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012.
The presidential aircraft, Air Force One, taxied right up to a crowd of 12,000 at the Burke Lakefront Airport, easing to a stop in front of the podium.
After a dramatic few minutes when the crowd cheered on the plane itself, the president descended, breaking into a full jog to the stage, the words “United States of America” emblazoned on the aircraft behind him, gleaming in stark white and blue against the darkness of the night behind it.
While such theatrics were an example of the power of the presidency, Obama’s hoarse voice proved that even presidents get run down sometimes – for example, after 48 hours covering eight states and catching a few hours of sleep on the plane – even if it is Air Force One.
“We’ve been going for two days straight, from the East Coast to the West Coast,” he told the crowd. “I’ve still got a spring in my step because our cause is right. Because we’re fighting for the future,” he continued.
The president hit some notes that he reserves for Ohio events, including a special focus on the auto bailout, popular with Ohio’s autoworkers, which his presidential rival Mitt Romney opposed.
“If Mitt Romney had been president when the auto industry was on the verge of collapse we might not have an American auto industry today,” Obama said. “The auto industry supports one in eight Ohio jobs. It’s a source of pride to this state. It’s a source of pride for generations of workers. I refused to walk away from those workers.”
After his speech, the president turned and got right back on his plane, and took off for the White House.