Last night I stopped by Heinz Field, where a group of former Steelers, among them Dwight White, Robin Cole and Franco Harris rallied along with Senator Robert Casey for Barak Obama. Dan Majors has coverage in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Harris, the Steelers legendary running back, likened supporting Obama to being a member of the four-time Super Bowl-winning 1970s team, which sadly due to unmentionable events in February still stands as the greatest pro football dynasty. “It’s wonderful to be part of a winning team once again.” Interestingly, Franco, like Obama, comes from a multi-racial background, but I couldn’t get close enough to him to ask him about it.
The Steelers, owned by Dan Rooney, who also appeared at last night’s rally, are the most important cultural institution in Western Pennsylvania. The best analogy to Boston is the Red Sox; Franco even used the phrase “Steeler Nation” several times in his remarks. Paging Dan Shaunessy.
The composition of the crowd was biracial, a large number of African-Americans, suburban whites, a few big goons in black and gold, and, as always, white hipsters, such as the t-shirted alternative band Frequency. Events like this are all about getting out Obama’s most fervent supporters and peeling white blue collar voters away from Hillary Clinton.
This diverse group was unified on two fronts — Obama and the Steelers. When the participants took the stage, the crowd took up a new Obama chant: “Here we go, Obama, here we go!” This was a play on the popular pro-Steelers chant.
The Teamsters had a large presence there as well. After the event, I met a Teamster from Arlington, MA, who proudly wore his Red Sox hat as he disassembled the stage.