Las Vegas Sun

July 4, 2015

Currently: 102° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

election 2012:

Obama finds his old groove in Las Vegas rally

President preaches messages of trust in front of 13,000 at Doolittle Park


Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

President Barack Obama smiles during a campaign event Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012 at Doolittle Park. An estimated 13,000 turned out for his ninth visit to Nevada this year.

Updated Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012 | 10:33 p.m.

Obama Speaks at Doolittle Park

President Barack Obama speaks during a campaign event Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012 at Doolittle Park. An estimated 13,000 turned out for his ninth visit to Nevada this year. Launch slideshow »
Click to enlarge photo

Singer Katy Perry performs during a campaign event for President Barack Obama Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012 at Doolittle Park. An estimated 13,000 turned out for his ninth visit to Nevada this year.

Oct. 24, 2012: Obama Arrival

President Barack Obama waves from Air Force One after arriving at McCarran International Airport Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012. Launch slideshow »

Doolittle Park

With the economy still fragile and his re-election prospects uncertain, President Barack Obama hasn't quite been able to muster the rock star status in 2012 that helped carried him to victory in 2008.

But Wednesday night, with the help of a little pre-speech singing by Katy Perry, he mustered the old groove for a crowd of 13,000 in Doolittle Park.

Obama stopped in Las Vegas tonight for a rally on the third leg of a multistop tour of swing states that began in Iowa this morning, and in the next two days will take him to Colorado, Florida, Virginia and Ohio.

"We are pulling an all-nighter. No sleep," Obama told the crowd. "And if you're not going to sleep you might as well be in Vegas."

The president is crashing through six swing states in three days, shoring up support in those that have been tipping in his favor, and trying to pump up Democrats to go storm the polls in the states that lately have been teetering toward Romney.

Together, the stops are a preview of the states the nation will likely be watching on Election Night, as somewhere within their combined 82 electoral votes are the points that will put one candidate or the other over the top.

Obama has been polling a few points ahead of Romney in Iowa, Nevada and Ohio, and holding an even slighter lead in Colorado. But in Florida, Romney holds a slight edge — and in Virginia, they are all but dead even.

But with all of those numbers falling well within the margin of error, neither candidate is presuming to presage the outcome of this race.

So Obama made a point of emphatically, directly, and sometimes comically, asking the Las Vegans gathered for their vote.

"I've come to Nevada to ask you for your vote. I've come to ask you to help me keep America moving forward," Obama said. "You can choose the top-down policies that got us into this mess or you can choose the ones that are getting us out."

Obama then went on to accuse Romney of not actually having policies that voters could consider if they tried.

"He's hoping you will come down with a severe case of Romnesia before you cast your ballot," Obama said, citing the term his campaign has coined to diagnose what they consider to be flip-flopping on the part of the Romney campaign, especially in the weeks since the televised presidential debates started. The last of those debates was on Monday night.

"But Las Vegas, if you feel any symptoms ... fever, or a ringing in your ears, blurred vision — not being able to remember what you said just last week? If it's coming on, good news, is, we can fix you up," he said. "Obamacare covers pre-existing conditions ... There's a cure, Nevada! All you gotta do is vote!"

But despite humor — and a favorable-looking voter registration advantage — Obama's campaign has stressed they are not taking anything in the state for granted. The sentiment was reinforced throughout Wednesday night's ceremonies by a none-too-subtle freestanding 6-foot-tall sign to the right of the stage that reminded the audience to "VOTE EARLY."

Arriving in Las Vegas around 9 p.m., the president stepped off Air Force One to a welcoming group that included eight Nevada politicians and union leaders and a crowd of about 60 friends and families of campaign supporters. He shook hands and posed for pictures with the various leaders that included: Clark County Commissioner Susan Brager, state Sen. Mo Denis and Las Vegas Councilman Ricki Barlow, among others.


Then he ventured into the crowd to greet supporters. The moment was better than new parents Kyle and Nicole Singer could have imagined. When the president reached them, he held their 2-month-old daughter, Lillian, and kissed her head. The moment drew laughs and coos from the crowd and left Nicole Singer giddy. The moment gave them the perfect Christmas card. 

Click to enlarge photo

Elina Motola, 16, screams to her friend Gabriella Benitez, 17 as Katy Perry is announced while Samantha Green, 15 looks on. Benitez described Perry as "her idol."

“It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Kyle Singer said. “We’re going to show her when she gets older.”

Obama then took off in his motorcade for Doolittle Park just after 9:05 p.m.

Las Vegas has become a hotspot for presidential campaign visits this season. In the last week alone, Vice President Joe Biden, presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan, and now the president have graced the city and its suburbs. First lady Michelle Obama pops into town on Friday.

Their back-to-back appearances have inspired plenty of local vitriol about the state of traffic snarls. But it has also given locals a front-row seat to be persuaded by the candidates and convinced by how they sell their plans.

Romney told a crowd of about 6,000 (a campaign estimate) at the Henderson Pavilion Tuesday that "we cannot handle four more years" of Obama's presidency, in a speech where he highlighted his business acumen and his experience slashing budgets and creating jobs to persuade voters that he was the best primed candidate to fix the local economy in Nevada and reintroduce a "6 percent" unemployment rate to the state.

Romney has been criticized in the last 24 hours for being overly optimistic for that estimate, which many Nevadans believe is impractical considering how severe the state's economic ills are.

Obama offered Nevada no hard number estimates. But he did outline a few special interests for Nevada in running through the top-line points of his economic plan.

“I don’t want solar panels made in China. I want them made here in Nevada,” Obama said, as he ticked off other goals: Ending tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas, cutting oil imports in half by 2020, and keeping college tuition low.

Click to enlarge photo

Senate candidate Shelley Berkley addresses the crowd as they wait to hear from President Barack Obama at Doolittle Park in Las Vegas, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012.

"I want you to compare my plan to Gov. Romney's plan,” Obama told the crowd. “See which plan is better for you. See which plan is better for Nevada. See which plan is better for America's future.”

But Obama admitted to the crowd that numbers or plans or promises about the next four years would not likely be what decides this election.

“There's no more serious issue in the presidential campaign than who can you trust,” Obama said. “Trust matters. Who's going to look out for you.”

He was tapping into a theme that had been building throughout the night. Trust us, the Nevada Democrats who preceded Obama kept saying throughout the night to the crowd, as they told Obama’s personal stories and their own to illustrate why the audience of potential voters should.

“[Obama] knows what it is like to start from so little,” said Steven Horsford, the Democrat running against Republican Danny Tarkanian to represent Nevada’s 4th Congressional District, and the first candidate for federal office to speak Wednesday night. “That's why he's fighting to make sure everyone gets a fair chance to succeed in life.”

“Barack Obama and I, we've got your back,” said Shelley Berkley, the Nevada congresswoman running against Republican Dean Heller for the Senate. “President Barack Obama and I believe we’re all in this together.”

That was exactly the message the president attempted to get across.

“We've got a long way to go Nevada but we've come too far to go back now. We cannot afford to go backward to the policies that got us into this mess,” Obama said. “We've got to go forward and that's why I am running for a second term as president of the United States. That's why I need your vote.”

It certainly sounded like a swan song on Nevada visits. But don’t count on it.

In an interview with the Sun last weekend, deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said there was a real chance that Obama could return before the election season is over, even with only 13 days left to go.

If the president’s current trip itinerary is any indicator, Nevada may just be one of only six states where each and every vote really matters.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 17 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. The Whitehouse knew within 2 hours.

  2. People died/Obama lied.

    People need to trust the men and women they elect to lead them. Trust is based on integrity and respect - can anyone say that is what we'll have if we get another four years of Obama?

    He obviously doesn't respect us, telling us that the debacle in Benghazi was because of a video no one has seen, while all the time he KNEW what had really happened. Can anyone honestly say that they will respect him in the coming term?

    I can't. It was bad enough with the broken promises, such as "I won't raise your taxes", his failure to work with Congress to get things done, and his failure to accept responsibility for the actions (or lack of them) of his own administration. But now we have four Americans dead, and he treats it as an inconvenience to his re-election effort.

    I guess I respect him as much as he respects me, and having Katy Perry tag along won't change anything.


  4. And the lies and false promises keep on rolling. What an absolute LOSER.

  5. The amount of disrespect I see day after day in response to any article on our President is disgusting. When did it become okay to spew hatred and outright lies about the person leading our country (I'm not even taking about his policies, I'm talking about the personal attacks made on Mr. Obama).
    Same goes for Mr. Romney. Agree with him or disagree with him, but the conversation should be about his policies and ideas.
    Of course, it's easier to hide behind a computer screen and hurl insults rather than the truth, or have an intelligent discussion. It also seems blazingly obvious that now all you need to make something a "fact" is to see it on the internet or speak it out loud.
    It scares me what our neighbours in other countries must see when they open a page like this and see the how low we have sunk as a society. Bravo to those who I see remaining civil and talking about the real issues at stake this election. You all give me some hope in our future.

  6. The Westside of Las Vegas is a model of diversity!

    Bound together by an economy built to meet the needs of the people who at the core have more in common in thought, in community, in being responsible than previously known.

    To have the President of the United States visit West Las Vegas is historic! The crowd last night was a mix of what the country will look like in the next twenty years.

    The larger picture of the event last night on October 24, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada in what is known as the Westside, was a display of a gradual shift of a diverse society here in America.

    Where in Clark County can you find people of different color, of different religion, of different culture, coming together in support of common interest? The people at the event last night live in the area, not bused in!

    I've been to a rally where there were people from different areas of town. Shouting and being supportive of the candidate. After the event everyone went their separate ways. And during the event there was little interaction within the crowd. But last night, what you saw was people who live in the area, excited and talking with each other. People who looked different, who dress different, who in years past would not be living close together, not in a community together. But last night in Las Vegas, Nevada on the Westside of town, we saw preview of the new Las Vegas.

    We need new leaders, and current leaders, to recognize what a diverse community needs. The Westside of Las Vegas is starting model. Let's improve on what we have and learn going forward.

  7. Where are you tax returns Mr. Romney? What are you hiding?

  8. How can ANYONE call Mr. Obama a liar when for 6 months all Mr. Romney has done is lied; about everything! I guess he feels you can't hit a moving target. Anyone who votes for Romney is voting for a country of the rich.

  9. I'm laughing my as off at these stupid republican supporter's comments. These commenters are the best comedy act in Vegas. Four more for Obama!!!!

  10. Obama is down to name calling, "Romnesia" at every campaign stop now. This reeks of desperation. His campaign is in big trouble and he knows it.

    January 13, 2013 can't get here quick enough.

  11. Correction, January 21, 2013 can't get here quick enough.

  12. Obama has Gloria Allred trying to unseal divorce documents from the early 90's from a friend and advisor of Romney who was going through a divorce.....just to see what Romney said under oath.

    The desperation worsens.

  13. After reading the many comments I conclude this is a reasonable observation:

    "The once majority, becoming the minority, losing control, losing composure, and some of you are losing your mind."

    Change is coming my friends. You cannot stop it!

  14. Interesting... I wonder how many people showed up for the free Katy Perry show versus those to see Obama and hear Obama. Sure a free concert by a major performer is going to out do anything that Romney can do and generate far more excitement and a people count, but does it translate to voters voting for Obama?

    I do agree with Obama's statement to end tax cuts for companies that ship jobs overseas. This has been a long time in coming and it can't happen soon enough.

    I am concerned about cutting oil imports by 50% by 2020. We are already paying $3.50 - $4.25 a gallon in gas, cutting the supply -- even though well-intentioned and a lofty goal -- will only increase the price.

    College tuition is important and hopefully it will be attainable by all who want it. Unfortunately, the market will charge a price that it can get away with. If people realized there are some very affordable schools out there and refused to pay the prices some of the "elite" colleges are charging, the price may come down. Too many students today go to major universities without thinking of the overall cost and what it will be like to be saddled with tens of thousands of dollars of debt after graduation. Also, emerging technology may facilitate the learning process while reducing the cost.

  15. <<I got telepoled today and pushed 1 for I voted Obama ( I could tell it was a Democrat seeking info) ... love to throw the monkey wrench into things. I wonder if we we will have another ammo shortage when Obama loses?>>

    You're not throwing a monkey wrench into anything!!! Do you know how many people do this??I personally know quite a few people that have done this and are still doing it every time they get one of those calls or are stopped randomly in person on "the street". They say they are voting for Romney when in fact they would rather walk on hot coals then do so!!!

    So you're not so smart, are you?

  16. too little too late

  17. @lvrose
    Get over it already. At least you could remember what Obama actually said. Can't come up with a better argument? Or an original thought? Oh, and you are wrong on the unemployment rate when Obama took office. Blame your OWN state officials for the high unemployment rate.

    There is NO law that TV stations have to interrupt their programming for a presidential CANDIDATE. They can do what they want or actually - what the advertisers want.

    Thank you for the correct unemployment numbers in Vegas when Obama took office. I lost my Vegas job in 2008 and the employment rate then was high. I KNOW because I was out looking for a job and there weren't any. Re Benghazi: The president did not lie. Was the government supposed to take seriously Facebook & Twitter comments on something as serious as this??? Emails? Investigating needed to be done and it is still going on. The Bush administration didn't take the chatter and intel seriously and look what happened? 9/11.

    <<Obama is a product of the tough Chicago political machine. These guys play dirty.>>
    What better place to learn politics - it toughens your skin. You already know how to deal with dirty politicians from everywhere else in the country after learning from some of the best "dirty politicians". BTW - Those "dirty political days" have been gone for a long time from Chicago Politics, but I don't expect some country bumpkin to realize this.

    Aiming to become the next Mrs. Donald Trump?

    LOLOLOLOLOL Did you fall asleep during some of these debates? Oh wait - you DVR'd all of them so you could actually count on how many times things were brought up. Sheesh!

    Alred's "ploy" is no better than Trump's BS. And, Obama has NOT put Alred up to this!! How gullible can you get? Oh, wait.....

    The objective was to get Bin Laden and they had to move quickly - in and out - to minimize our own casualties. You would not make a good Seal. And we did not know about it until many hours later on what happened.

    THe we should be able to re-elect Bill Clinton!!

    <<I am concerned about cutting oil imports by 50% by 2020. We are already paying $3.50 - $4.25 a gallon in gas, cutting the supply -- even though well-intentioned and a lofty goal -- will only increase the price>>
    GOogle this. There was an article by the AP today in the newspaper about this.