Farmington, Farmington Hills
Obama visits North Farmington High School
Posted September 3, 2008
FARMINGTON HILLS — If voters put Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain in the White House, Americans will see a continuation of what President George W. Bush has done in during the last eight years.
That’s what Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., told hundreds of people who packed into the North Farmington High School gymnasium Sept. 8 for a town hall style meeting. Obama took the stage in the center of the gym floor for about an hour, outlining his policies in education, the economy, healthcare, infrastructure, foreign policy and more, which he says would change policies currently in place in Washington.
“I don’t think he’s somebody who doesn’t care, but he doesn’t know what families are going through,” Obama said of McCain. “He seems to be out of touch. When he says that the economy’s made great progress under George Bush, he must not be talking to people here in Michigan. When he says that the fundamentals of the economy are sound, he must not be talking to people in Michigan.”
Obama said McCain has bragged about voting with George Bush 90 percent of the time.
“What kind of judgment does that show?” Obama asked, as someone shouted out, “None.” “I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to take a 10 percent chance on change. We need a 100 percent guarantee that things are going to change, and you’re not going to get it with John McCain.”
Obama said he would cut taxes for 95 percent of the population, not tax Social Security for seniors whose income is less than $50,000, and give tax breaks to families and those who are saving in 401K plans or don’t itemize their tax returns.
“That’s change,” he said. “What John McCain is offering is not change. It’s the same old stale, outdated, trickle-down economics where you give the folks with the most more. ... We have tried this for eight years and it hasn’t worked.
“So when John McCain gets up there with (vice presidential running mate Alaska Gov.) Sarah Palin and says ‘We’re for change’ — and now is starting to run television commercials saying that ‘We’re the change agents’ — you’ve got to ask people, ‘What are they talking about? How do they have the nerve to say it?’”
Obama said Palin has said things about her governing history that he claims are false, and detailed the ways in which he believes John McCain’s policies are identical to those of President George W. Bush. He said the pair talk a lot about their biographies — which he called “compelling” — and talk a lot about him, but talk very little about the issues important to this year’s election.
“They’re not going to talk about the issues, because they don’t have issues to talk about,” Obama said. “What they’re going to do is try to talk about me in ways that make people not want to vote for me. … They can’t run a government, but they can run a campaign.”
Obama, calling McCain and Palin “shameless,” said it’s no different than what Republicans have been doing for years in their attempts to win campaigns.
“I don’t think it’s going to work this time, first of all, because what they’re saying isn’t true,” he said. “But what’s most important, I think, is the American people right now. They know this is a serious time. This is a serious moment in the life of this country. And if we don’t make some serious decisions now, if our politics is substanceless, if it’s about distractions and distortions and isn’t about how we rebuild … then we may be passing off an America that’s a little less prosperous than the one we inherited from our parents.”
Obama said the election shouldn’t be about him, McCain, Palin or his vice presidential running mate Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del.
“It should be about your hopes, about your dreams,” he said. “It’s about who you believe is going to wake up every morning thinking about you, who’s going to fight for you.”
Obama answered a handful of question from the audience, including those regarding his support of Israel, rebuilding the automotive industry, and the fate of the U.S. Supreme Court. He responded, outlining his “steadfast support” of Israel, and investing in new technologies and the education of future engineers, and stated that it was “safe to say” that the Roe v. Wade ruling on abortion would be overturned if McCain were elected.
“Here’s the bottom line — you’ve got a choice in this election,” he said. “It is very clear. We can do the same things that we’ve been doing for eight years, or we can try something different.”
Harold Ellison of West Bloomfield attended the event.
“I think that he’s finally showing the difference between what real change is and what the McCain-Palin ticket is saying change is, but it’s not any different,” Ellison said. “He is actually representing real change, whereas they’re saying they’re changing but nothing that they’re doing is really change. All they’re doing is the same Bush-Cheney policies and nothing’s changing.”
Before Obama emerged into the gymnasium, accepting hugs, kisses and handshakes from people in the crowd, former Farmington Hills mayor Vicki Barnett, a Democrat running for state representative of the 37th District of Michigan, encouraged people to register to vote before the Oct. 6 deadline.
“This election is about every one of us, in this room and beyond these walls today,” Barnett said. “It’s about a campaign for hope that challenges us to dream again together as a nation. It is the most important election you will ever have the opportunity to vote in, because it will change the direction of the United States of America.”
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