President Obama incorporated Rosa Parks into his campaign fundraising pitch today, sitting in her bus asking supporters to imitate the mother of the civil rights movement by supporting f his campaign.
"You’ve got the bus that Rosa Parks sat down in," he observed at the fundraiser. "It takes ordinary citizens to bring about change, who are committed to keep fighting and keep pushing, and keep inching this country closer to our highest ideals. That’s why I need all of you."
In an apparent equation of his reelection with the "highest ideals" that Rosa Parks pursued, Obama added that "if you’re willing to keep pushing with me, to keep working on behalf of our higher ideals, there is nothing that will stop us. And we will finish what we started in 2008."
The bus in which Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man is on display at Henry Ford Museum in Michigan, where Obama held a fundraiser today.
At his second fundraiser, Obama revealed that he had sat in the bus where Rosa Parks made her protest. "I just sat in there for a moment and pondered the courage and tenacity that is part of our very recent history, but is also part of that long line of folks who sometimes are nameless, oftentimes don't make the history books, but who constantly insisted on their dignity, their share of the American Dream," he said.
Obama has evoked civil rights leaders before, offering his agenda as the next stage of their efforts. Last year, the president asked the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) to "march" with him as they marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in a speech designed to counter complaints from CBC leaders about his leadership.
"We're supportive of the president, but we're getting tired, y'all," Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., had said at a Detroit forum before Obama's CBC rally. "We're getting tired. And so, what we want to do is, we want to give the president every opportunity to show what he can do and what he's prepared to lead on. We want to give him every opportunity, but our people are hurting."
Obama's campaign is also working to "find qualified, African American candidates for some of these positions" on his reelection bid. The Washington Free Beacon reported recently on a "stunning lack of diversity" among his campaign staff, based on photos released by the Obama camp.