One day after the third and final presidential debate, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden visited Dayton’s Triangle Park Tuesday in their first joint, public rally this year.
The rally attracted a crowd of 9,500 members, many of whom arrived early to stand in the general admission area for hours to see the Democratic ticket in person. Senior political science major Kylie Kelly said she attended the rally to show her support for the president and to take advantage of his increasingly frequent Ohio visits.
“I think that regardless of your political party affiliation, the opportunity to see the president of the United States is very exciting and exhilarating,” she said. “It was a long and exhausting day, but I think it was worth it because I’ll remember this for the rest of my life, and not all people can say they’ve been within 100 yards of the president.”
The stop in Dayton was no coincidence, with Ohio’s 18 electoral votes making the state an important battleground for both candidates that could potentially determine the Nov. 6 presidential election’s outcome.
Obama’s speech recounted several topics from the previous night’s debate, including foreign policy, overseas jobs, education and his proclaimed ability to make tough decisions for the country’s benefit, such as entering Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden.
Biden opened for Obama with a five-minute speech that elicited cheers from the audience when he mentioned Romney’s “47 percent” comment, and said the outcome of Monday’s debate “wasn’t even close, was it?”
Before Biden or Obama took the stage, senior political science major Wendy Onofre addressed the audience at Triangle Park for a five-minute opening speech encouraging those in attendance to volunteer and participate in
Onofre said her campaign supervisors selected her to give the speech because of her active involvement in campaigning for Obama at UD and in the Dayton community. She said she was unaware of the crowd’s expanse until speaking to local campaign press managers Monday night.
“They asked me if I was nervous and I said, ‘No, I’ve spoken to a couple hundred people before,’ and they laughed and were like, ‘Well, there might be a couple thousand,’” she said.
Obama and Biden arrived at the Dayton International Airport aboard Air Force One at about 2:30 p.m. before being transported to Triangle Park via motorcade with about 40 accompanying police cars, vans and SUVs. The park is a former football stadium and was home to the Dayton Triangles from 1920 to 1929.
The president’s Secret Service team patrolled the park prior to and during the rally, and a helicopter circled the grounds several times before the president arrived on stage. The motorcade departed Triangle Park at 4:50 p.m. en route to the Dayton International Airport, increasing traffic as police temporarily shut down sections of northbound 1-75 and eastbound I-70.