At a Democratic National Convention watch party near Disneyland in Anaheim, a dedicated group of President Barack Obama supporters clapped and cheered at the president’s mocking words before the conclusion of his acceptance speech.
“Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations and call me in the morning,” Obama said from the Charlotte, N.C convention.
About 60 people gathered Thursday evening to watch the president speak at a quaint German restaurant, the Jaegerhaus, to fire up the local democratic constituency before the November election.
“You don’t know how badly we need you,” regional field organizer Mark Mulhall said to the group before the start of the convention speeches. “You being here tells me you want to help in the campaign.”
The Republican National Convention was held last week in Tampa Bay, Fla., where Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan officially accepted the nomination to run for president and vice president, pressuring the Democrats to try to outdo their opponents.
Leaders of local Democratic Party organizations rallied their constituents at viewing parties across Southern California to drum up hype for the upcoming election. Across the country, many more places were doing the same.
Mark Ephraim, a Cal State Fullerton alumnus, attended the party “to watch the speeches here among a bunch of kindred spirits.”
“The direction that the Democrats want to go in is grounded in reality and grounded in the best interest of more people in this country,” Ephraim said. “They really do have an approach that takes more American citizens into account.”
Before the 2008 economic decline, Aida Gonzalez, an active party supporter, said she worked in the banking industry.
She recalled immigrating to America when she was 15 while on vacation with her family from Mexico in the ‘80s.
She said she had to try to seize the moment. Later, Gonzalez was surprised to learn that then-President Ronald Reagan granted amnesty to all illegal immigrants in the U.S.
Gonzalez is attracted to Obama for his claim to support the middle class and because of the way he speaks, she said. His demeanor reminded her of Reagan, a “leader with a strong presence and a firm voice.”
“My hope is (that) he reaches out to the Latino community, and I know four years ago Obama made a lot of promises to the Latino community, like doing another amnesty, (similar to what) Ronald Reagan did in the ‘80s,” Gonzalez said, referring to the Dream Act, a measure that could make a difference in the teetering hispanic vote this election.
“On the bubble voters” are people who have not decided which political party to support. These are the voters that Mulhall hopes to lure into his campaign movement.
Lauren Howell, a registered “no-preference voter,” was a Republican before she voted for Obama in 2008. She voted for President George W. Bush twice, but his second term and her change of heart for the environment, healthcare and alternative energy steered her to become more liberal, she said.
“Most of my friends in Orange County tend to be more on the right wing side of things,” Howell said. “I thought it would be great to have a room full of people cheering at all the same things I support and kind of find some camaraderie with fellow Obama fans.”
Howell discovered more than just strangers coming together to support the president. People drank beer, ate German food and had a good time.
The party also included a raffle. The prizes consisted of campaign material — posters, stickers and a patriotic-looking Obama bobblehead.
While the president spoke, the restaurant served bratwurst, knackwurst and German seasoned chicken dishes.
“You tell them, Barack,” a woman said while the president disparaged the GOP in his speech.