Now, I want to check out that impression by reading the whole speech.
The first section consists of generic cries of "Fired up!," introductory thank yous, references to his time living in Boston — Cambridge, really, wasn't it? — and an indirect reference to the Red Sox in the form of a reference to the White Sox. And that was an indirect reference to Coakley's cockup about Curt Schilling.
Finally, he's ready to talk about Coakley.
And today I've come to talk about one thing.Coakley?
I've come to talk about Tuesday.Oh, Tuesday!
On Tuesday, you have the unique and special responsibility to fill the Senate seat that you sent Ted Kennedy to fill for nearly 47 years. And I am here to tell you that the person for that job is your attorney general, Martha Coakley. (Applause.)Finally, the name has been spoken.
Now, there's been a lot said in this race about how it's not the Kennedy's seat -- it's the people's seat.He quotes Scott Brown's best line.
And let me tell you, the first person who would agree with that was Ted Kennedy.Good. Play off Brown's line.
See, the only thing he loved more than the people of this commonwealth was serving the people of this commonwealth.Huh? He loved the people, and he loved serving the people even more than he loved the people. Well, okay. Ted was a people guy, a man of the people, a servant of the people, really into serving. Servile as all get-out.
There follows a paragraph about all that Ted did for the people. That segues into the representation of Martha Coakley as a woman of the people — "raised in North Adams, one of five kids... worked her way up..." — who has worked for the people. This is the part of the speech that is specifically about her as opposed to Obama's agenda and the need for another Democratic vote in the Senate. It is 2 paragraphs long and — I counted — about 7% of the total verbiage. He says:
Look at her record. As a prosecutor, she took on cases most of us don't even want to think about, putting murderers and child abusers away.And the Amiraults too. Who wants to think about that?!
As attorney general, she took on Wall Street and recovered millions for Massachusetts taxpayers -- (applause) -- took on predatory lenders that were taking advantage of Massachusetts families. She went after big insurance companies that misled people into buying coverage only to deny it when they got sick. She went after big polluters who put the health of your family at risk. Time and again, Martha has taken on those who game the system at expense of hardworking, middle-class families.Oh, here's where that heckling takes place and Obama takes forever to end the disruption, with the audience eventually coming in with booing and then a "Fired up!" chant. You can look at the clip here. I can't figure out what the guy is yelling. "One more [???]!" One more Chevy?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Let's go, Martha! (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: That's the kind of leader the people of Massachusetts need now more than ever. (Applause.) You need somebody -- (audience interruption) --
Hmmm. I kind of get the feeling Obama is glad to be interrupted there. Sort of: Oh, good, now I don't have to talk about Martha Coakley anymore. Just let this play out. Maybe I'll look like the underdog and people really will get fired up.
Hmmm. Any chance the interruption was a scripted part of the presentation?
Finally, he gets back to his prepared remarks. Conveniently, he's through with the details about Martha. He tells us we need "somebody who has fought for the people" because times are tough. He's got something to say about "Martha's opponent":
He's driving his truck around the commonwealth -- (laughter) -- and he says that he gets you, that he fights for you, that he'll be an independent voice. And I don't know him, he may be a perfectly nice guy. I don't know his record, but I don't know whether he's been fighting for you up until now, but --So he doesn't know anything about the guy he's about to tear down, but please laugh at the man who drives a truck. He doesn't worry that the truck might backfire. It becomes a theme in the next section:
Forget the truck. (Laughter.) Everybody can buy a truck. (Laughter.)...
... I'd think long and hard about getting in that truck with Martha's opponent. (Laughter.) It might not take you where you want to go....Now, the repeated recurrence of the truck may be a good distraction, because this section of the speech is incoherent. Obama wants to tell us that the Democrats will build up the economy and cut taxes the right way, but he also demonizes business and wants us to reject Republicans because they are on the side of business. The key seems to be to distinguish between small business and Wall Street bankers. In this framework, it's hard to explain all the money — tax money — that we — including the Democrats — handed to bankers:
It was your tax dollars that saved Wall Street banks from their own recklessness, keeping them from collapsing and dragging our entire economy down with them.So you helped the banks, but you don't want to say it was great that the help worked. Do you want them to succeed or not? Would it be better if we all suffered together?
But today, those same banks are once again making billions in profits and on track to hand out more money in bonuses than ever before, while the American people are still in a world of hurt.
Now, we've recovered most of your money already, but I don't think "most of your money" is good enough. We want all our money back. We're going to collect every dime. (Applause.) That's why I proposed a new fee on the largest financial firms -- to pay the American people back for saving their skin.What is the connection between a "new fee" and getting all our money back? Isn't it great that we've got most of the money back, and isn't it enough to get the rest the money back? Why the fee? To punish success? To my ears, it's a non sequitur.
But instead of taking the side of working families in Massachusetts, Martha's opponent is already walking in lockstep with Washington Republicans, opposing that fee, defending the same fat cats who are getting rewarded for their failure.But you didn't explain the fee. You're demonizing the bankers — "fat cats" — the very people that you gave our tax money too. And how are they "getting rewarded for their failure" if the bailout worked? Why aren't you pleased with the effective use of our tax money? It's incoherent.
Now, there's a big difference here. It gives you a sense of who the respective candidates are going to be fighting for, despite the rhetoric, despite the television ads, despite the truck. (Laughter.) Martha is going to make sure you get your money back. (Applause.)Get our money back or impose that "new fee"? Scott Brown isn't against getting the bailout money back, is he? This is deliberate obfuscation, it seems.
She's got your back. Her opponent has got Wall Street's back. (Applause.)That sounds nicely slogan-y, but what does it mean? You can count on Democrats to be hostile to business? How is it defending us to attack Wall Street, and if it is, why did you give so much of our money to Wall Street?
Obama wants to say that he's helping the economy:
We're forcing the banks finally to start lending again on Main Street, and not just worried about profits.That's an attitude about the economy that people ought to examine. Forcing lending? Isn't that what led to the mortgage crisis? Don't we want banks to worry about profits so they don't go back to making all those bad loans? And don't we want the hope of profit to motivate people to take risks? Apparently not.
So understand what's at stake here, Massachusetts. It's whether we're going forward, or going backwards.And with that, Obama makes the special election in Massachusetts into a referendum on the work he and the Democrats in Congress have been doing for the past year. You were excited about me, he says. You wanted change. If you want us to keep moving on in the direction we ran after you gave us the power, we need you to elect Coakley. The election transcends anything personal about her — or Scott Brown, whom Obama purports to know nothing about other than that he's a Republican (and has a truck).
THE PRESIDENT: It's whether we're going to have a future where everybody gets a shot in this society, or just the privileged few. If you were fired up in the last election, I need you more fired up in this election.
Obama wants that vote, and that vote comes in the form of Martha Coakley. It's the "people's seat," as Scott Brown called it, but it's the Democrats who are for the people — and against business (unless it's small!) — so fire up and vote for Martha.