obama_waves.jpegMIAMI _ Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama brought his campaign for change to the University of Miami’s Coral Gables campus Friday morning.


Preceded by several prominent women, including UM President Donna Shalala, who is also the former secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under President Bill Clinton, Obama greeted a packed BankUnited Center at an event geared toward women.

In a speech that was met with thunderous applause, Broward County Commissioner Diana Wasserman-Rubin said she’s often asked why as a Hispanic person, she is supporting Barack Obama.

 

The former Hillary Clinton supporter said she supports Obama because, “I don’t want government in my body, I don’t want government in my bedroom, and I don’t want government in my hospital room…”

 

Then, she led crowd in the chant,  “Si, se puede!” That’s Spanish for, “Yes, we can!”

 

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz had the honor of introducing the Democratic presidential nominee, and used the opportunity to blast McCain on a number of issues, chief among them his close affiliation with the Bush administration.

 

Wasserman Schultz asked the audience, “Does agreeing with President Bush 90 percent of the time sound like change to you?”

 

With the exception of a disruption by a small group of black anti-Obama protesters, the event was an enthusiastic show of support in a state that many believe Obama and his running mate, Delaware Sen. Joseph Biden, must win in order to capture the presidency in November.

 

U.S. Rep. Corinne Brown passionately reminded the audience that an Obama win is a strong possibility. Brown reminded the audience that former President Bill Clinton won Florida in 1992 and in 1996, and, with an obvious jab at the Republicans for Florida’s election debacle in 2000, she shouted to enthusiastic applause, “Gore won Florida in 2000.”

 

Obama stressed his connections to the women in his life.

 

“This is not just about politics for me, this is personal. I come here as a son and a grandson, as a husband and a father,” the Chicago senator said.

 

And in laying out his commitment to equalize the pay between women and men, Obama talked about how he saw his grandmother work her way up from secretary to middle management during World War II.

 

His grandmother, “the smartest person I knew,” he said, hit a glass ceiling when men who were no more qualified than she – and in some cases, less qualified – were given positions that she was denied because of her gender.

 

He tapped into the balancing act that women face while juggling work and family.

 

“I saw my mother struggle to put herself through school while working while raising me and my sister on her own,’’ Obama said.

 

“She once had to turn to food stamps to make sure we had enough to eat. But then with student loans and scholarships, she was able to get her PhD, she was able to make sure we went to the best schools,” he said, comparing his late mother to women who also work and “pour everything they’ve got into their kids.” 

 

Amy Charley and her mother, Judy Rosenbaum, are Obama supporters who attended Friday’s rally.

 

Charley, 36, an attorney for a healthcare company said, “I support Obama and I want to do everything I can to help get him selected.”

 

Of the Republican vice-presidential nominee, Charley said, “I think Sarah Palin is a pioneer as a woman, but I don’t think she stands for the issues that I believe in and are important to me.”

 

Rosenbaum, 67, a retired state worker, said of Obama, “He’ll be the right person to lead our country.”

 

Asked what she thought would be the hallmarks of an Obama administration, Rosenbaum said, “Quality and integrity.”

 

Rmharris15@bellsouth.net

Pictured above is Sen. Barack Obama.