WILKES-BARRE ‚?? They went from talking to listening at 9 p.m. sharp.
Volunteers at the downtown office of Wilkes-Barre4America were busy all day, like every other day in this campaign, making calls on behalf of their leader ‚?? President Barack Obama.
But at 9 p.m., the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., was winding up to its climactic ending. At around 10:30, Obama would address the convention and a television audience, and accept his party‚??s nomination to run for re-election.
With 61 days left in the campaign, Obama and his supporters are gearing up for the final lap of the race that ends on Nov. 6 when voters will choose between him and Republican Mitt Romney.
‚??I really believe (Obama) has the best interests of the middle class at heart,‚?Ě said Denise Parashac, volunteer team leader at the Wilkes-Barre office. ‚??Without a strong middle class, we can‚??t have a strong economy.‚?Ě
Parashac was watching over about 30 volunteers who were manning the phones and now were awaiting the message from their president.
Brian Fanelli, 28, of Kingston, has been volunteering at the Obama office since May. He helped out in the 2008 campaign and he remains devoted to Obama.
‚??(Obama) has more compassion than Romney,‚?Ě said Fanelli, an English teacher at Keystone College. ‚??If he gets second term and gets some help from Congress, he can turn the economy around.‚?Ě
Fanelli said the Democratic platform is better for Americans, especially his students.
‚??Education should be affordable for everybody,‚?Ě he said. ‚??And student loan interest should be kept low.‚?Ě
Fanelli said he was hoping to hear Obama talk about his plan for stimulating the economy.
‚??I also want to hear him talk about his accomplishments, like health care, Wall Street reform and the killing of Osama Bin Laden,‚?Ě he said.
Jenna Casaldi, 28, of Kingston, an art teacher in the Lake-Lehman School District, said Republicans cut ‚??all the wrong things,‚?Ě like health care and education.
‚??If the Republicans win, I feel we‚??re all in great danger,‚?Ě she said. ‚??Romney wants to repeal the health care act, but it‚??s about time we have a national health care system ‚?? it‚??s a basic human right.‚?Ě
Casaldi said Obama should be open and honest during his speech; that he should tell the country how Republicans have held him back.
Tony Jardine, 53 of Kingston, is an unemployed informational technology professor. His 22-year-old son, a working electrician without health care benefits, lives with him and is able to remain on his father‚??s health care plan.
‚??I‚??m here because all the change that needs to be made takes more than four years,‚?Ě Jardine said
May Jane Griffith, 67, of Hughestown, supports Obama because Medicare needs to be saved.
‚??Obama needs four more years to turn this economy around,‚?Ě she said. ‚??This is an unusual situation. For more than 30 years jobs have been sent overseas. That has to be reversed.‚?Ě
Reactions to speech
Obama‚??s speech was finished at press time, but Parashac said the president was articulating his mission for the future with clarity and passion.
‚??And this is truly the most inspirational and moving speech I have ever heard,‚?Ě she said. ‚??I truly believe President Obama will go down in history as the greatest president we ever had.‚?Ě
Parashac the people watching the speech with her were energized ‚??more than ever.‚?Ě She said all of them were reacting to the president‚??s every word.
Fanelli said the speech was energetic ‚?? firing up delegates and supporters.
‚??He makes us all want to work harder for him in the campaign,‚?Ě he said. ‚??I‚??m happy that he is listing his accomplishments and he offered specific details on his plan for the next four years.‚?Ě
Casaldi said she really enjoyed the speech.
‚??After hearing him tonight, it makes the choice seem obvious in November,‚?Ě she said.
NOTES: Parashac was featured in a video that was shown at the convention. She was one of several volunteers who were filmed in the Tribeca section of New York City and asked who inspired them the most. Parashac said her fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. Murphy, was her inspiration when she attended Pittston Township schools.
Parashac, 57, of Plains Township, said Murphy made learning fun and comforted her when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.
She was able to watch the video on the DNC website, and she was shown stating: ‚??We all want to live in a country where everyone has a fair shot.‚?Ě