PHLOG: Protesters, Democratic Pols Greet Romney in Philly
Protesters with Fight For Philly, the SEIU and others were waiting for Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Vice-Presidential candidate Paul Ryan and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett outside the Union League this morning, where the trio stopped by for a fundraiser. About 60 people were on hand chanting slogans for the “Neighborhood swap” event—in which protesters were encouraged to bring symbols of their own neighborhoods as a metaphorical symbol of what the Republican candidates are not seeing on their trip to Philadelphia. The protest began a morning of both action and, later, response from the Democratic Party, who reiterated many similar sentiments about Romney’s recent statements. Check out some photos and explainers below.
The crowd gathered at the Union league’s Broad Street entrance. After a picket line, they began with speeches and chants which included, “It doesn’t seem like the Republican politicians gathered here today care about what we have to say,” and “Don’t waste your money, Romney’s gonna lose.” It was later reported that inside, Romney said his winning Pennsylvania in November would be a “shock.”
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have suggested a voucher system to replace Medicare, which would provide seniors with a certain amount of money for care each year. Liberals have said this would hurt health care.
This sign was held by Dan Sauder, 32, who showed up this morning after driving in from Reading, Pennsylvania. “I firmly believe that our economy right now is not equitable,” he said. “We’re in this recession and we need to remember that there’s poor people out there and there’s people struggling and we need to fight for the 99 percent and the 47 percent Romney said he doesn’t care about.”
Sauder, a member of liberal nonprofit Keystone Progress, brought up a point many in Pennsylvania, including Mayor Michael Nutter have been reiterating as of late: Romney said in a leaked video from a fundraiser that 47 percent of Americans believe they are victims and live to suck the government’s tit, in so many words, of course.
“It didn’t actually surprise me that he would say something like that,” Sauder said.
One counter-protester showed up and walked back and forth between the crowd and the opposite side of the sidewalk, on Moravian Street. He held a sign which read “Bless Bain Capital”—which is a phrase you don’t see coming from, well, really anyone.
“[Romney] is a smart businessman,” said the man, who identified himself as Jerry Lambert of Bucks County, PA. “He can turn the economy around and fix the economy. I’m a shareholder activist. I understand a little bit about the economy, and we need a strong businessman in the White House.”
Lambert noted that what we hear about Bain Capital’s “vulture” economics is “baloney,” and the company was actually quite successful in creating jobs.
“They had some losses,” he said, “but they had more wins than losses. They reorganized companies and created thousands of jobs, but the media focuses on the small amount of jobs they lost … Obama has never run a McDonald’s, let alone an entire country.”
He dismissed Romney’s “47 percent” remark as “baloney—it was an off the cuff remark. It was misrepresented by the media … He said he’s not going to waste his time trying to earn the vote from people who are already committed.”
The protest let out around 9:30 a.m., and was almost directly followed by a press conference at the Democratic Party office near 15th and Ranstead. Both former governor Ed Rendell and Rep. Allyson Schwartz were set to speak.
Gov. Rendell was blistering in his attacks on Mitt Romney, going after him on his healthcare plan and the 47 percent remark. “We had a chance to look deep into Gov. Romney’s soul,” Rendell noted. “[The fundraiser tape] was an incredible bird’s eye view of what Gov. Romney feels about the American people … he basically cast away 47 percent of our country and said they were irresponsible.”
Rendell went on to give statistics about who make up that almost-half of the country. “Most of these people have multiple part-time jobs … they’re hardworking people [and] they’re trying to feed their families.”
He was followed by Rep. Allyson Schwartz, whose remarks were brief.
“[President Obama] demonstrated his interested and determination to make sure every American – rich or poor or middle class – has economic opportunities,” she said. She vowed to make sure the Democratic party protects Medicare, Social Security, the middle lass and seniors.