President Obama addresses crowd - or lack thereof
Presidential rally at Ohio State University sparsely attended
U.S. President Barack Obama launched his campaign at Ohio State University, the largest college in the crucial swing state. According to eyewitnesses and photos posted online, President Obama addressed crowds - of the lack thereof. the President's first official campaign speech was made to an audience of around 14,000 people.
At Ohio State University, over 5,000 seats in the 20,000-person venue went unfilled on the upper seating deck and behind the press cameras.
At Ohio State University, over 5,000 seats in the 20,000-person venue went unfilled on the upper seating deck and behind the press cameras. According to witnesses, "there were a lot of empty seats." In contrast, Obama drew a crowd of 35,000 at Ohio State when he campaigned for former Governor Ted Strickland in 2010.
Commentators say that in 2008, Obama ran a near-flawless campaign, buoyed by enthusiasm and effective organizing. Analysts now say that Team Obama has made an embarrassing blunder on the first day of the 2012 campaign.
The New York Times quoted Obama senior adviser David Plouffe, not about the president's remarks, but about the crowd size - with reporter Mark Landler comparing the rallies to "a concert by an aging rock star."
Romney spokespeople attended both events, waiting in line. They worked their way close to the press risers, ready to provide rapid response to Obama's speech.
Romney Deputy Press Secretary Ryan Williams was in the audience at the OSU rally, and tweeted a picture of the empty seats - which instantly got picked up by conservative blogs. After Obama's remarks he was swarmed by local reporters, and after giving them a standard response to the speech, he commented on the empty seats.
Democrats fired back with references to "Ford Field," and Romney's infamous speech to the Detroit Economic Club and the bare football stadium.
As the Romney campaign sees it, they had the last laugh - with Obama falling short of his own campaign's expectations.
"They spent the day defending why they couldn't sell-out the arena, not pushing their own message, so that was a big win for us," one Romney aide said.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Keywords: President Obama, 2012 campaign, empty arena
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