Dozens of people rallied at a "Harlem Tea Party" Sunday in support of President Obama's reelection bid - and called for a more civil tone in the presidential race.If this "tea party" for Obama can only draws dozens of people in Harlem, he's in for a massive defeat next year.
"This is a Harlem tea party," said Chet Whyte, director of Harlem 4 Obama. "This is about 'civilitea.' But don't let the smooth taste fool you."
"Our premise is that we have allowed the Tea Party to shape the debate," Whyte said. "We're going to take back the definition of tea party. They wanted to define us, we're redefining them."
Whyte said Harlem 4 Obama members would heed the example of those who peacefully demonstrated during the Civil Rights Movement.
"In their quiet dignity, they went up against dogs and firehouses in Selma," Whyte said. "They came back with the moral authority."
Oscar Carter, 65, of Harlem, told the crowd: "President Obama, we want you to know, Harlem has your back!"
Tekima Berlack, a retired social worker who was born and reared in Harlem, said, in some instances, racism has fueled the vitriolic criticism of the president.
"I think it's racism," said Berlack, who held up a sign that read "Expand Pell Grants for Low Income Students."
"I think anything the man does - they work against him," Berlack added. "The man is trying to save the country. They have an agenda, and I'm out here because we need an agenda. It's critical that we elect Obama in 2012."
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