Bus tour leaves Gary to promote Obama
By Michelle L. Quinn Post-Tribune correspondent September 29, 2012 11:58AM
Former Gary Mayor Richard Gordon Hatcher(Right) talks politics with long time Gary resident John Cowans as they wait to board the bus to participate in the "Turn Indiana Blue Bus Tour" in the Village Shopping Center parking lot Saturday morning in Gary. |Jeff Addison - Post-Tribune.
Updated: November 1, 2012 6:47AM
GARY — Just before the charter bus took off from the Village Shopping Center on the “Turn Indiana Blue for Obama” tour, Calumet Township Trustee Mary Elgin led the 20 people in a rallying cry: “Fired up and ready to go!”
The crowd leaving on the bus might’ve been small, but it was determined to get out the message that President Barack Obama must be re-elected. With stops in South Bend, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis and West Lafayette over the course of Saturday, they hoped to end up having it filled by the end of the day, said tour coordinator Ron Matlock.
That Obama or anyone from his camp hasn’t visited Northwest Indiana hasn’t gone unnoticed by Matlock and others, but it’s all the more reason for them to get out the word.
“We’re already organized, because it’s forward together, backwards never,” Matlock said.
Lake County Clerk Mike Brown said he he’s also noticed that enthusiasm isn’t as strong as it was four years ago, likely because there was a lot of campaign help from outside the state going into it. He said he was going to make sure people know that early voting starts Oct. 9 and encouraged people to take advantage of its convenience since Northwest Indiana is one of few places in the state to offer it.
Former Gary Mayor Richard Hatcher reminded the crowd that four years ago, no one thought Obama would win in Indiana, and he believes history can repeat itself. He also said Richard Mourdock, the Republican candidate who bested U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar in the primary, isn’t a shoo-in for the spot.
“(Lugar) was one of the most outstanding public officials the state has ever produced; he was willing to work with everyone and always willing to help,” Hatcher said. “People don’t appreciate that Mourdock came in with extreme notions, and I think a number of people who were Lugar supporters will support (Democratic candidate Joe) Donnelly.”
For Gary precinct committeewoman Ethel Shelton, making the bus trip was a must because she’s among the 47 percent she believes was disparaged by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in the last few weeks.
“Romney doesn’t understand our issues and has never lived our issues,” Shelton said. “How can we expect someone like him to lead us?”