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Tim Kaine Chairman of DNC Credit: Michelle Bigony

Delivering a speech in front of a crowd of students and union workers in Houston Hall, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine kicked off the post-Labor Day election season by stating, “Don’t let anybody tell you that the 2010 election isn’t as important as the 2008 election.”

At the event — jointly hosted by the DNC and Penn Democrats Wednesday afternoon — Kaine, along with Pennsylvania governor and Penn alumnus Ed Rendell and other local leaders, touted the accomplishments of President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats over the past twenty months.

“We promised change, and we’ve started to deliver,” said Kaine. “An economy that was shrinking in 2008 is growing. It’s not growing enough. We have work to do, but it’s growing.”

“We shouldn’t apologize for the first twenty months of the Obama administration,” Rendell said. “We should revel in the things we’ve achieved.”

Praising the results of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, commonly known as the stimulus package, the governor pointed to an August 2010 Congressional Budget Office report that estimated the act lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.7 to 1.8 percent from April to June 2010.

“Don’t tell me that the stimulus hasn’t created good-paying jobs,” he exclaimed.

Noting the importance of the midterm elections, Kaine argued the President needs reliable partners in Congress to continue moving forward with his agenda.

Despite the list of legislative victories, Democrats are still facing a bleak electoral landscape in November. A Rasmussen poll released Monday estimates that Republicans lead Democrats in the generic Congressional ballot by 12 percent.

Nevertheless, Rendell remained hopeful, noting that Democrats are tied with Republicans among registered voters. “If we can get those 2008 voters again, we will win,” he said.

“I have faced tough odds before,” Kaine added. “Tough is what Democrats do.”

Others attribute the gap in the polls to Democrats holding the reins in a bad economy.

“An incumbent party will always get blamed,” Penn Democrats President and College junior Emma Ellman-Golan said. “People have short memories.”

Whatever the reason, Pennsylvania Democrats will need to improve their position in the polls before November in order to come out ahead. The Republican candidates for both Senate and governor in Pennsylvania currently lead their Democratic opponents by double digits in the polls, according to a Reuters poll conducted Aug. 28-29.

“We really need to get active to take charge in this election,” Ellman-Golan said. “It’s really easy to feel apathetic, but we recognize the importance of maintaining our majority.”

Penn Leads the Vote President and College senior Jared Fries highlighted the importance of the election for students of any political persuasion.

“While the governors’ speeches were inherently partisan, their message rings true to all Penn students, even those with no previous interest in politics,” he said.

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