Obama refuses to ignore middle class, economic crisis

Democratic presidential nominee holds rally in Greensboro

Miriam Williamson

Sept. 29, 2008

GREENSBORO, N.C. — As the economic crisis worsens, Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, says the priority should be meeting the needs of the people of Main Street before the people of Wall Street. In his speech at a rally here Saturday, Obama, who was joined by his running mate, Sen. Joe Biden, focused on the economic changes he would make as president to help release America from its current financial quagmire.

“We need a president who will fight for the middle class every single day,” Obama said. “And that is exactly what I will do when I am in the oval office as president.”

A crowd of Carolinians holding signs and shouting “Obama” and “Yes we can” greeted Obama and Biden.

“I love North Carolina,” Obama said. “Every time we come to North Carolina we end up having a great experience. The people here are some of the best people in the country.”

A subject both Biden and Obama focused on was the seeming lack of concern his opponent, Republican Sen. John McCain, has for the middle class.

“More important than what we heard from McCain was what we didn’t hear from McCain,” Obama said of the first presidential debate Friday evening in Oxford, Miss.

During the debate, McCain failed to mention the middle class once, Obama said.

“The truth is, through 90 minutes of debate, John McCain had a lot to say about me,” Obama said. “But he had nothing to say about you.”

The Economic Crisis

Obama said that he, on the other hand, has a plan to help middle-class Americans and the United States get out of their economic crisis.

He plans to cut taxes for 95 percent of all working families, he wants to implement lower tax rates than those enacted by former President Ronald Reagan. He said his plan offers three times the tax relief for middle-class families than McCain’s does, which encouraged Greensboro resident Katana Sinclair.

“I’m going to vote for him because I’m from the middle class and everything he said is basically what we’re going through,” Sinclair said.

Obama also pledged to stop giving tax breaks to companies that outsource jobs overseas. Instead, he will give them to companies who will help alleviate the high unemployment rate by offering jobs in the United States.

As for the $700 billion bailout plan, Obama said he would not accept it without four core conditions:

1. It requires an independent board compromised of both Democrats and Republicans to “provide oversight and accountability” so that the money is used in the most efficient way possible.

2. Taxpayers need to be treated as investors. He said he thinks Americans should get back the money that is put into this plan once the economy stabilizes.

3. Assistance must be provided to individual Americans who have been greatly impacted by the economic failings.

4. The agreement should not create a “welfare plan for Wall Street.” He said many CEOs are unwilling to help the rest of the country in this time of crisis, saying they are in greedy and selfish positions.

“We cannot and simply will not bail out Wall Street without helping the millions of innocent homeowners,” he said.

Obama explained that one of his main reasons for choosing Biden as his running mate is because he is familiar with what many Americans are experiencing today.

“The reason I’m so proud to have Joe with me [is that] he knows what it’s like to struggle,” Obama said. “He knows what it’s like to see your father or your mother pinch pennies a little to get by.”

Obama said the United States must live up to its economic promise: That everyone has the opportunity to make it.

“America prospers when all of America prospers,” he said.

Education

“Now is finally the time to provide every child with a world-class education,” he said.

To do this, Obama wants to raise salaries for teachers and raise the standards for education.

He said teachers should not be teaching to the end-of-grade tests because that only prepares students to pass exams. It doesn’t give them a world-class education.

Greensboro resident Victoria Kearns said her concern for her children is the reason she is going to vote for Obama.

“My kids need hope for the future,” she said. “A great education and opportunities.”

Obama also wants to make it possible for more Americans to attend college. He promised that young people who work for the country in programs such as the Peace Corps and the U.S. Army will be ensured the opportunity to attend college.

“If you are willing to invest in America, then we are going to invest in you,” he said.

Taking on McCain

Obama said the amount of money being spent on the war in Iraq is not appropriate considering the economic crisis Americans are experiencing at home.

“[McCain] had nothing to say [in the debate] about the fact that more and more Americans can’t afford to pay for a college education,” Obama said. “Sen. McCain talked again and again for the need to spend $10 billion in Iraq.”
Biden expressed concern that McCain is not even knowledgeable about the situation in Iraq.

“We cannot afford a commander in chief who does not know where the central front of the war on terror is,” Biden said. “He does not instill confidence.”

Regardless of all the troubles the United States faces, Obama said he is confident it is possible to make the changes necessary to move past it all.

“Here in America our destiny is not written for us, it’s written by us,” he said. “Nothing can stop us when we are together. I know times are hard. I will not pretend that bringing about change will be easy.”

He said President George W. Bush has dug the American people into a hole and that John McCain will continue to carry the shovel.

“It’s going to take time to dig ourselves out,” Obama said. “If you want the next four years looking like the last eight I’m not your candidate. But if you want real change, I need you to give me your vote.

Video by Derek Noble and Kaitlin Buck from The Pendulum

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2 Comments on “Obama refuses to ignore middle class, economic crisis”

  1. Allen Taylor Says:

    Nice writing. You are on my RSS reader now so I can read more from you down the road.

    Allen Taylor

  2. Janna Says:

    I already sent you quite a few comments on this excellent work. I do want to add a tip. When you write subheds, put an active verb in them. Don’t just use a label like “education.” Get action in there!


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