Obama Campaign Office Opens in South Bethlehem

SouthSide storefront packed with volunteers and supporters who hope to re-elect the president.


Bethlehem Township pre-school teacher Kathy Harrington became a supporter of then Sen. Barack Obama in 2007 after reading his first book, The Audacity of Hope.

“I know it sounds corny, but after reading it I thought, if there is someone who can fix Washington, he can,” Harrington said.

One of the Republican narratives in this election is that the president has not lived up to the lofty expectations that came about during Obama's 2008 march to the White House, but Harrington doesn’t buy that.

She volunteered for the Obama campaign in 2008 and she is doing it again this year. Harrington is a volunteer team leader for Obama For America, a position that will require her to work full-time type hours for the president’s re-election campaign.

On Thursday night, Harrington was one of more than 150 enthusiastic people who packed a South Bethlehem storefront to celebrate the grand opening of a new Obama campaign field office. As one of the local campaign leaders, she was also one of the speakers who worked to fire up the crowd.

“In 2004, they told me that the terrorists were going to come after my babies. Then I totally ruined the country and voted for George W. Bush,” Harrington said to a chorus of boos, while a few volunteers jokingly threw debris at her. “I’ve been trying to make up for it ever since.”

She told the crowd that Super Political Action Committees run by Karl Rove and David and William Koch have pledged a total of $500 million to produce and run “smear ads” against the president. She said the best way to combat that kind of advertising is to talk to neighbors and friends about the president’s record.

In an interview, she said one of the ways Obama delivered in the first term was through the health care legislation – so called “Obamacare” – that protects people from losing coverage when they get sick or if they have a pre-existing condition.

It also has allowed her to keep her son, a Penn State University student, on her health insurance plan. One little-discussed fact is that the new health care law has created 200,000 new jobs, she said.

“Don’t let anyone tell you that President Obama’s economic policies haven’t worked,” Mayor John Callahan told the crowd. “We have had 24 straight months – that’s two years – of job growth.”

The mayor also raised the issue of Super PAC influence on the campaign, saying there are 48 corporations that are trying to determine the outcome of this election.

Super PACs may not make contributions to candidate campaigns or parties, but may engage in unlimited political spending independently of the campaigns. Also unlike traditional PACs, they can raise funds from corporations, unions and other groups, and from individuals, without legal limits.

“This is a crossroads for our economy, for our democracy, for our country,” Callahan said. “If we let the Super PACs determine who the next president will be, we are in big, big trouble.”

The Bethlehem field office, at 13 E. Third St., is the third in the Lehigh Valley. Allentown and Easton offices have been up and running for more than a month.

Daryl Nerl May 11, 2012 at 10:17 PM
Your original post had way more problems with it than the "legitimate term" you just defined. A lot of progressives might respond that it's apt description of a conservative. If you wish to treat people who disagree with your politics with a total lack of respect and civility, that is your choice. But I won't tolerate it here. If you continue, your comments will be deleted. That applies to both sides. The difference between a racist and a bigot and my judgment of you, Staberdearth is that my judgment is not a pre-judgment based on an ignorant stereotype. It is an educated judgment of what I have observed of your abusive pattern of name-calling here. You want to rant and rave about why you don't like the president? That's fine. But I will insist upon civility and respect and I would also appreciate it if you would tone down the borderline blue language. Families read this website.
moderate Republican May 12, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Thanks, Daryl Nerl, for keeping it civil. It's been so disappointing lately, that so much namecalling happens, and it's helpful and gratifying when the site administrator (or whatever the correct term might be) moderates by welcoming all points of view while eliminating posts that are uncivil (or worse). Thanks again.
Sergio David Rivas May 13, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Ranting and raving the standard operating procedure of the ignorant.
William Whipple May 15, 2012 at 02:18 AM
Stereotyping and name calling indicates to me that that person doesn't have much to say on the issues. I for one am glad that my kids can stay on my insurance longer if needed. I am also glad that an insurance company can't refuse coverage for a condition which I might already have. These are only 2 of many benefits that Obama's health care provide that were not available under President Bush nor did he have the courage to tackle this tough an issue.. I have much respect for Obama's courage being willing to tackle the hard issues like health care.
Staberdearth May 15, 2012 at 11:24 AM
Oh, I have lots of depth to comment on the issue. Read me in the Mcall online message boards. I am just about tapped out. I for the life of me can't understand, nor comprehend why anyone would go down the path that the Obaschitte has set. I am very much a long term sort of person and think long term in most things. You bring up the largesse issue as if it's a badge to proudly wear. It is a long term detrimental issue. ***************************************************** A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years.


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