The Collegian
Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Obama speaks before 13,000 at Richmond Coliseum

Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama told a crowd of 13,000 people on Wednesday at the Richmond Coliseum not to be "hoodwinked" by the economic policies of John McCain, whose proposals Obama said would be a continuation of the Bush administration's.

"The question isn't, 'Are you better off now than you were four years ago?'" Obama said, "the question is, 'Are you better off now than you were four weeks ago?'"

Obama, who was introduced by Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine and former Gov. Mark Warner, painted a bleak picture of the state of the U.S. economy. America has lost 750,000 jobs in the past year and frozen credit markets are making it harder for businesses to expand, he said.

"It's time to change eight years of economic policies that put Wall Street before Main Street and ended up hurting both," he said. "We need policies that grow our economy from the bottom up. We need policies that don't just help the ones who run the factory but for those who work on the factory floor, not just for the CEO but for the secretary and the janitor."

Obama said it was true that he wanted to raise corporate taxes back to the rates paid under former President Bill Clinton.

Obama said McCain's tax policy would give the Obama family a tax cut but that he didn't want it.

"I don't need a tax cut, I didn't need it in 2000, 2001 or in 2002."

Obama responded to McCain's recent attacks that call Obama a socialist by saying that McCain denounced the Bush tax cuts in 2000 when they were proposed.

Obama referenced his famous conversation with "Joe the Plumber" when he said that his tax policy was aimed at "spreading the wealth around."

"I like Joe," Obama said. "All I want to do is give Joe a tax cut. Lets be clear about who John McCain is fighting for. He's not fighting for Joe the plumber. He is fighting for Joe the hedge-fund manager. Its time to try something new."

Obama said he would invest $15 billion a year in renewable energy and invest in infrastructure. He proposed laying broadband cables in rural America to attract businesses.

"People may ask, how are you going to pay for all this?" Obama said. "You tell them, if we can afford to spend 10 billion a month in Iraq ..."

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Obama also spoke about his plan to make college more affordable by encouraging community service, telling the large percentage of young people in the audience that if they would commit to community service or military service he would make it affordable to go to college.

Obama also responded to insinuations from McCain surrogates and Gov. Sarah Palin on cable news shows that rural and small town America represented the "real America." Palin made the comments at a fundraiser in North Carolina last week and apologized for them during an interview that aired on CNN yesterday.

"There is no real parts of the country or fake parts of the country," Obama said. "There are no pro-American parts of the country and anti-American parts of the country. We all love this country."

During February's Potomac Primary, Obama received nearly 80 percent of the vote in the city of Richmond.

The event started an hour late. Obama volunteers attempted to keep the crowd enthused. Obama volunteer Erik Fox, 16, performed break-dancing on the Coliseum floor and James Wallace, 16, helped rev the crowd by dancing and provoking cheers.

Fox said he had been volunteering for a couple of weeks and he had been interested in the campaign for almost two years since he went to a rally for then-senatorial candidate Jim Webb where Obama performed the introduction.

"We can't vote," Fox said, "But we can get the adults to vote. That's what kids are for, to get people excited and energized."

Wallace said that he had canvassed much of the West End of Richmond in recent days.

"I've been chased and had doors slammed in my face but I'm still excited to be part of it"

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