DETROIT – Barack Obama urged his supporters on Monday to donate to the Red Cross to help victims of Hurricane Gustav. The Democratic presidential nominee scaled back Labor Day speeches to unions in an effort to keep the focus on the Gulf Coast.
Obama planned to finish his campaign schedule Monday with stops in Michigan and Wisconsin before heading home to Chicago to monitor the hurricane situation and decide his schedule for the week.
“Instead of a speech, what I’d like to do is to ask all of us join in some silent prayer for all those Americans who are spending this Labor Day in a shelter waiting for another storm to pass,” Obama said at a rally in the shadow of General Motors’ headquarters.
“There’s a time for us to argue politics, but there’s a time for us to come together as Americans,” Obama said. “I know John McCain wants what’s best for the people who have been evacuated. I know George Bush wants what’s best for them and so do I.”
In an e-mail sent to hundreds of thousands of his supporters, Obama said, “Please give whatever you can afford, even $10, to make sure the American Red Cross has the resources to help those in the path of this storm.”
He also sent a text message to cell phones, asking for $5 for the Red Cross. Obama had built up a massive list of cell phone numbers with a promotion to announce his running mate by text message.
In his brief remarks in Detroit, Obama praised organized labor. “The idea behind the labor movement is that you don’t walk alone. You’re not by yourself.” Obama said. “And each of us are vulnerable by ourselves.”