Obama does Chester
Exactly one week from today, we’ll go to the polls to elect a new president.
And Pennsylvania remains in the crosshairs of both the McCain and Obama camps.
John McCain and Sarah Palin will make several appearances in the state. He held a rally in Pottsville last night. He will team with Palin for a couple of stops today.
Last night Obama was in Pittsburgh, but this morning he will hit Delco, with a rally at Widener University in Chester that is expected to draw as many as 50,000 supporters. Of course, that was before Mother Nature got involved. As Phillies fans know all too well, it started raining last night and it is still raining. It’s expected to rain steadily most of the day and into tonight.
Obama is expected at Widener at 10 a.m.
It’s been awhile since a presidential candidate has been in the city. Ronald Reagan was there in 1980. And John Kennedy famously visited in 1960.
The rally, which is expected to clog city streets, making it difficult to get around, either on foot or especially via school buses, caused Chester Upland School officials to cancel classes for the day.
You can make the argument that the last thing kids in Chester – or anywhere else for that matter – need is a day off for school.
Chester Upland Superintendent Gregory Thornton said it was a safety decision, since crowds are expected from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., although the rally itself is set for 10 a.m. on the main quad on campus.
Chester has a population of about 35,000, which means a group larger than the city’s normal population could engulf the town. Amid that throng there would be 7,000 kids trying to get to school in the 4.7-square mile school district.
The decision to close the schools raised a few eyebrows, in particular among some local GOP officials. Springfield GOP boss Michael Puppio called the decision “a disgraceful misuse of taxpayer dollars” and said the Obama campaign should have moved the rally if if meant cancelling classes.
I’m inclined to give the district a break. It’s not exactly new that kids are out of school when a big political event comes to town. Any number of school bands have taken part in recent rallies.
Besides, we could use a diversion to take our minds off the Phillies’ debacle.
No word yet on whether they will suspend the Obama rally because of the weather.