BOSTON – Martha Coakley supporters began to fill up the Grand Ballroom at the Fairmont Copley Plaza on Friday speaking in hushed tones about the latest bad news: the new Suffolk University poll showing Coakley and Republican Scott Brown in a tie in the U.S. Senate Race.
But the whispers turned to “We Love Martha” in anticipation of an appearance by the Democratic candidate John Kerry and former President Bill Clinton bolster Democratic hopes in the tough race.
“The stakes are high,” warned Mayor Thomas Menino told the crowd, which filled the 750 capacity room, comparing Brown to an unfavorable character in the 1972 movie “The Candidate”. The crowd booed when Brown’s name was mentioned and rose to a cheer when Menino reminded them that the election was about the people.
Chelsea Peterson, a campaign organizer, encouraged people to text in order to volunteer and help “keep the seat,” while Senate President Therese Murray asked the crowd, “Are you ready to rock and roll?”
Murray addressed the concerns brought on by the recent poll results. “I don’t care about the polls. Forget about them,” yelled Murray to a screaming crowd.
As excitement grew, people began fanning themselves with their “Vote for Martha Coakley” posters as the heat began to rise in the room, which was filled to capacity at 750 people. However, no one complained and some even took it as evidence that Coakley had a stronger voter population than Scott.
Gov. Deval Patrick told the crowd to make the race personal, since it will not only affect Massachusetts residents but the United States as a whole.
Sen. John Kerry built on Patrick’s sentiment. “Say yes to Martha Coakley, and say yes to the future,” while nicknaming Brown, “Silent Scott”.
As a sea of cell phones and point and shoot cameras illuminate the hall, Kerry introduced Clinton. However, Clinton did not emerge from behind the curtain for almost five minutes and Kerry smiled and said, “We’re going to have to filibuster,” as the crowd erupted into laughter.
When Clinton and Coakley did emerge, banners flew, cameras flashed and clicked, and cell phone cameras were in full force.
Clinton talked about the disaster in Haiti before mentioning how the financial prosperity and financial surplus he left the United States with was gone due to mismanagement.
“You just have to decide whether you want us to be a tomorrow country or a yesterday country,” said Clinton.
After Clinton spoke, Coakley, who has been accused of running a lackluster campaign, made the campaign personal, telling the stories of Stephanie, who has two sick kids and no job, Vince, who lost his job and runs an ice cream company in Jamaica Plain, and Jim, whose wife battled breast cancer without health insurance.
She also encouraged her supporters to text UNICEF to donate $10 to Haiti. It wasn’t long before the crowd pulled out their cell phones and donated their $10. Clinton, who was standing behind Coakley, smiled and thanked everyone for their donations.
Supporters were buoyed by Coakley’s performance.
“Today was when Coakley’s real passionate side came out,” said Kat Maines, a Smith College sophomore from Newburyport, “She stands for everything I believe in.”
Risa Kipp, from Newburyport, said that the healthcare bill is playing an important role in this election.
“All the speakers kept driving the point that Scott would be the 41st vote against the reform.” Kipp, who is a sophomore at University of New Hampshire, will be staying in Massachusetts one extra day to make sure that she votes.
Kipp explains that Massachusetts is a very progressive state that paved the way for same sex marriages and mandatory medical insurance.
“Massachusetts is where things happen,” said Kipp, “We can’t have a senator that doesn’t represent what Massachusetts is.”