CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Rep. John Lewis urged California delegates today to take their campaign message outside their home state to help send President Barack Obama back to the White House this November.
"You know when to get involved. We need you," the Georgia Democrat said at a breakfast at the Blake Hotel housing the California delegation. "California's going to be all right. But we need you to travel to other parts of America and re-elect Barack Obama."
California, a blue state, isn't expected to be play in the presidential race this November. While Obama's approval ratings have dipped, the Democratic president led Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney 55 percent to 37 percent in a Field Poll of California voters released in July.
The civil rights leader shared stories of his activism and experience fighting for equality in the 1960s. He said Democrats now have a "fight on our hands" to ensure justice and freedom for Americans, including same-sex couples who want to marry, for years to come.
"Keep standing up, sticking up and sticking out and get involved and create a nonviolent revolution here in America," he said.
Lewis' remarks fired up the crowd of several hundred delegates filling the hotel ballroom for the 8:30 a.m. breakfast.
"Rep John Lewis just spoke about the right to vote & the hope for equality - my eyes are filled with tears," Los Angeles County Democratic Party Chairman Eric Bauman tweeted after the speech.
California delegates attending the Monday morning event heard from five congressional Democrats, including House minority leader Nancy Pelosi of California.
"You don't want to follow John Lewis giving a speech," California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton joked as he introduced the next speaker.