posted by avenger in Politics

Fired Up! Ready to go!

November 9, 2012

"Fire Up, Ready to Go" was heard at every campaign rally. It got its start in Iowa, as it was the first place on the Presidential campaign tour.

That was a huge campaign theme in 2008. "I know you may have heard this story but it was early in the primaries, and we were still way down in the polls. I think this office had just finally gotten the heat turned on. And at the time, I was still competing in South Carolina -- it was one of the early primary states. And I really wanted the endorsement of a state representative down there. I met her at some function where nobody knew me, nobody could pronounce my name. They’re wondering, what’s he thinking?"

President Obama, then a United States Senator, "asked her for her endorsement. And she said, 'I tell you what, Obama -- I will give you my endorsement if you come to my hometown of Greenwood, South Carolina.' And I think I had a little bit of wine during dinner, because right away I said 'okay.' So it’s about a month later, and I'm traveling back to South Carolina."

He continued the story, "And we flew in late -- I think we were coming from Iowa. We had been campaigning non-stop, traveling all through towns and having town hall meetings and shaking hands. And in between, I'm making phone calls, asking people for support. And so we land in Greenwood, South Carolina, at around midnight. We get to the hotel about 1 o’clock in the morning. I am wiped out. I'm exhausted. And I'm dragging my bags to my room. Back then we didn’t fly on Air Force One. And the accommodations were a little different."

He traveled that morning to Greenwood, S.C. which is several hours away from the place they were staying. "And so we drive, and we drive, and we drive, and we drive. And finally we get to Greenwood -- although you don't know you're in Greenwood right away because there are not a lot of tall buildings around. And we pull up to a small field house, and I walked in, and I'm looking around. I don't hear a lot going on. And the state representative said she was going to organize a little meeting for us, and we walked in and there are about 20 people there. And they’re all kind of wet, too, and they don't look very excited to see me. "

He continued, "But I'm running for President, so I do what I'm supposed to do -- and I'm shaking hands, I say, 'How do you do? Nice to meet you.' And I'm making my way around the room, and suddenly I hear this voice cry out behind me: 'Fired up.' And I'm startled, and I don't know what’s going on. But everybody in the room -- this is a small room -- they act like this is normal. And when the voice says, 'Fired up,' they all say, 'Ready to go.' And so once again, I hear the voice: 'Fired up.' They say, 'Fired up.' They say, 'Ready to go!' "

President Obama continued the story, "I look around, I turned behind me -- there’s this small woman. She’s about 60 years old; looks like she just came from church -- she got a big church hat. And she’s looking at me, kind of peering at me, and she’s grinning, smiling, looking happy. Turns out she’s a city councilwoman from Greenwood -- who also moonlights as a private detective. I'm not making this up. This is true."

He continued, "And it turns out she’s famous throughout the area. When she goes to football games and when she goes to rallies and she goes to community events, she does this chant of hers. She does it wherever she goes. So for the next few minutes, she just keeps on saying 'Fired up.' And everybody says 'Fired up,' and she says she’s 'Ready to go,' and everybody else says 'Ready to go.' And I’m thinking, this woman is showing me up. This is my meeting. I’m running for President. And she’s dominating the room. And I look at my staff, and they just shrug their shoulders. They don’t know what to do."

"So this goes on for a few minutes. Now, here’s the thing, Iowa. After a few minutes, I’m feeling kind of fired up. I’m feeling like I’m ready to go. So I start joining in the chant, and my staff starts joining in the chant. And somehow I feel pretty good," the President said.

As he completed the story, Obama said that "I’d see my staff, and I’d say, 'Are you fired up?' They’d say, 'We’re fired up.' I’d say, 'Are you ready to go?' And they’d say, 'We’re ready to go.' And we brought that to Iowa. And during our rallies, this became a chant, and we’d have signs saying 'Fired up, Ready to go.' And the woman, her name was Edith Childs -- she became a celebrity, and she was written up in The Wall Street Journal -- and folks did news stories on her. And this became one of the anthems of our campaign back in 2008.'

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