On Saturday, dignitaries, family, and friends gathered to remember Stephanie Tubbs Jones. Among the high profile mourners was Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama, and as ideastream®’s Dan Bobkoff reports, Obama’s presence did not go unnoticed.
Funerals are clearly not campaign events, but with Barack Obama on stage just two days after accepting the democratic nomination for president, it was, perhaps, inevitable that politics would creep into the program. This is Congresswoman Carolyn Kilpatrick.
KILPATRICK: Are you ready to win? Do you want your country back?
Wait, this was a memorial service, right?
To be fair, Obama, himself, did not use the occasion as a chance to campaign. But now and then as others spoke, the political rhetoric would creep in. There was this from Jimmy Dimora, the embattled chair of the Cuyahoga County Democrats.
DIMORA: Cuyahoga County is going to do its part to make sure you’re the next president of the United States. Take it to the bank, these people want change!
Some more graceful comments came from former President Bill Clinton who told a story of meeting a six year old in Cleveland who was surprised to see that the president was… alive.
CLINTON: I mean, you know, he thought the president was George Washington, Thomas Jefferson—he thought the president was a dead white guy. Thanks to you, senator, no one will ever think that’s the definition of a president again.
Before Obama, Tubbs Jones and her predecessor Louis Stokes were racial trailblazers. Stokes was the first African American elected to congress from Ohio. Tubbs Jones: the first African American woman. Now 83, Stokes referenced Obama’s acceptance speech at the Democratic nomination and issued a thank you.
STOKES: You provided me, and many in this nation, the opportunity to see something that we thought we would never in our lifetime see. We want to thank you for becoming the nominee for the democratic party.
And, in that sense, Obama is carrying some of Tubbs Jones’ legacy.