Jay Paterno, former Penn State assistant football coach and son of Joe Paterno, said Sunday night that he was at an event when a Republican approached him and began talking about President Barack Obama as "Your President," meaning he belonged only to the Democrats.
Jay's famous father, who was a Republican, interrupted to correct the speaker, referring to Obama as "Our President."
This story, told by Jay Paterno during the fall dinner of the Blair County Democratic Party at the Lakemont Park Casino, emphasized what the younger Paterno was attempting to get across to his audience of 120 local Democrats. He issued a plea for unity and said he supports Obama's programs, which he said have been a "catalyst for dynamic changes in the country."
It was, on one hand, a night of inspiration, an explanation of the last four years under Obama that have planted the seeds of change and a plea to continue the harvest - healthcare, lower unemployment rates - rather than the going back to the policies of the past.
"We are always stronger when we unite. Only together can we all win..." Paterno said in speaking for the nation, not just his party.
It was also a night that emphasized the practical side of politics that is necessary to win in the Nov. 6 general election.
He urged the Democratic faithful to make calls, and get out the vote in four-and-a-half weeks.
Make sure, he said you don't wake up on Nov. 7 and say, 'I wish I had done more.'"
Democratic Candidate for the 79th District of the Pennsylvania House, Richard Flarend, thanked the party members for the support he has gotten so far, but he, too, urged party members to continue their efforts.
Flarend is vying to fill the House seat now held by State Rep. Rick Geist, who has served for more than 30 years, but who was defeated in the Republican primary by John McGinnis.
Karen Ramsburg, the Democratic candidate for the seat now held by a Republican, U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, could not attend Sunday's dinner because she had to work a 12-hour shift as a nurse.
On Sunday, Paterno campaigned on behalf of Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey, running for a second term against businessman Tom Smith of Indiana County, and on behalf of Kathleen Kane, former Lackawanna County prosecutor, running for Pennsylvania Attorney General against Republican David Freed, the district attorney of Cumberland County.
He said the AG's race is the most important we've ever had.
"We need integrity...We need somebody who will stand up for the law," said Jay Paterno.
Mirror Staff Writer Phil Ray is at 946-7468.