Woman behind ‘fired up’ Obama campaign chant backs Steyer

Politics
Tom Steyer

Democratic presidential hopeful Tom Steyer speaks at a campaign event in Florence, S.C., Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina woman credited with popularizing a memorable slogan and chant that epitomized the 2008 presidential campaign of then-Sen. Barack Obama has endorsed Tom Steyer’s bid for the White House.

The billionaire climate activist’s campaign told The Associated Press on Monday that Edith S. Childs is endorsing Steyer’s effort. Childs, a member of the Greenwood County Council, said in a new television ad released this week that she sees Steyer as the best possible candidate to defeat President Donald Trump in November.

”We need something different to beat Trump,” Childs says. “Steyer can bring it. Watch out — my guy Tom is fired up, and Trump got to go.”

Childs popularized the phrase “fired up, ready to go” during a 2007 campaign event for Obama in Greenwood, a tale recounted in the Steyer ad. In the years since, “fired up, ready to go” became part of the campaign’s ethos, manifested in T-shirts, signs and bumper stickers.

The AP reported at the time that Childs came to know the “fired up” verbiage from an NAACP official, to whom it was passed down by civil rights activist and Charleston native Jondelle Harris Johnson.

Childs attended several events with the Obama family at the White House during his tenure, led delegates in the chant during the 2012 Democratic National Convention and sat with first lady Michelle Obama at her husband’s final State of the Union address in 2016.

In the years since, the chant has become ingrained in South Carolina’s Democratic political scene. Several politicians, including state Sen. Marlon Kimpson, regularly use it to amp up crowds at rallies across the state.

Steyer’s campaign has placed increasing emphasis on South Carolina, with just over a month to go until the state’s first-in-the-South primary. Steyer has focused recent campaign efforts around spending time with the state’s black voters, who comprise the majority of South Carolina’s Democratic voting electorate. Rolling out his criminal justice reform plan after several days of campaigning in South Carolina, Steyer told the AP last week that racial inequality in a variety of areas, including health care and economic development, is to blame for what he sees as a prejudiced criminal justice system.

According to Steyer’s campaign, the 30-second ad featuring Childs will air in the four earliest primary and caucus states.

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Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP

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Catch up on the 2020 election campaign with AP experts on our weekly politics podcast, “Ground Game.”

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