The Republicans are debating each other right now in Charleston—and a team of Democrats is gathered in this South Carolina city for a watch party.
We're here with Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, South Carolina's own Rep. Jim Clyburn, Obama for America national field director Jeremy Bird, and State Sen. Vincent Shaheen. We're also here with a restaurant full of of Generation 44 supporters who are fired up* and ready to work for the next 10 months to ensure none of the four candidates on stage makes it to the Oval Office.
Bird welcomed Gen44, thanking them for the history the folks in this room helped create in 2008. He would know: Bird arrived in March 2007 as then-Sen. Obama's South Carolina field director, "back when the naysayers and cynics thought we had no chance."
He told this story:
"Everyone told us, you don't organize in South Carolina. You can't actually get Democrats in South Carolina to volunteer. I remember someone coming up to me and saying, 'What you guys are doing, registering young people to vote, going to all the barber shops and beauty salons, that's all very nice. But young people and people who haven't voted before are not going to turn out for a Democratic primary.'
"We ignored the cynics and naysayers. We went to every part of the state, every county. And on primary day, we propelled Barack Obama toward the presidency. Twenty-seven percent of the people who voted that day had never voted in an election in their lives."
"And this year, we are slowly, methodically, doggedly building a campaign that is going to make what we did in 2008 look prehistoric. And we're going to do that because of you."
And as the Republican candidates took the debate stage, Rep. Wasserman Schultz set the tone for the night. After more than a dozen GOP primary debates, she said, the Republicans are doing a great job of proving that it doesn't get more extreme than the 2012 Republican field.
"They are demonstrating night after night with these debates that they are remarkably out of step with american families. And we're going to continue to be out there every single day spreading that message. But we are going to need you. The President is only one person. We need supporters like you to help amplify his accomplishments, his remarkable record. We know we can count on you."
"And with that," she closed, "May I present the people who will NOT be president of the United States after November 6."
*Fun fact from OFA's Jeremy Bird: The Obama chant "Fired up! Ready to go!" was born in South Carolina.