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Saturday, September 23, 2023

Obama ‘fired up, ready to go’

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Saying he’s “fired up and ready to go,” a determined, fervent Barack Obama strode into west central Indiana Saturday defining the issues and challenges facing America as the presidential election moves into its final phase.

In remarks to 1,000 at the Wabash Valley 4-H Fairgrounds in Terre Haute and later in an exclusive one-on-one in person interview with the Indianapolis Recorder, the first African-American nominated by a major party for president of the United States was bold and clear.

Obama attacked and belittled Republican nominee John McCain’s acceptance speech where McCain said he was for change.

Said Obama, “Suddenly he’s (McCain) the change agent? He says I’m going to tell those lobbyists that their days of running Washington are over. Who’s he going to tell? Is he going to tell his campaign chairman, who’s one of the biggest corporate lobbyists in Washington? Is he gonna’ tell his campaign manager who was one of the biggest corporate lobbyists in Washington? Is he gonna’ tell all the folks who are running his campaign who are the biggest corporate lobbyists in Washington? Who, who is it that he’s going to tell that change is coming? I mean come on. They must think you’re stupid.”

In our interview, Sen. Obama expanded on his criticisms of McCain’s cry of change. Obama told me, “You know I’m pretty passionate about the fact that we need change. And you know when I hear John McCain and these Republicans who’ve been in charge for eight years suggest that somehow they’re gonna be the agents for change, yeah, that gets me fired up. Because I think the American people can’t afford that kind of nonsense; that kind of silliness.”

During his Terre Haute speech, Obama, for the first time, directly attacked the Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s opposition to federal budget earmarks, while accepting them as a mayor and governor.

Said Obama, “I know the governor of Alaska has been saying she’s for change, and that’s great. She’s a skillful politician. But, you know, when you’ve been taking all these earmarks when it’s convenient, and then suddenly you’re the champion anti-earmark person, that’s not change. Come on! I mean, words mean something, you can’t just make stuff up.”

The Illinois senator understands that turnout is critical to winning Nov. 4th. He spent considerable time in our interview stressing the importance of every African-American adult getting registered.

“Voter registration is going to be absolutely critical. You can’t vote if you don’t register,” Obama told the Recorder.

“And if you don’t participate we’re not going to bring about changes in making jobs available to people who don’t have them, health care for folks who don’t have health care, making sure that college is affordable. This is a huge stake election. And we’ve been seeing people take the kind of interest that we’ve not seen in a generation. And so don’t sit out on the sidelines. Get registered. If you need help getting registered you can always contact our Web site at www.in.barackobama.com. But find out how to get registered. We need you to participate. You could be the difference maker in this election.”

Asked about concerns that Republicans will attempt every strategy to keep Blacks from exercising their voting rights, Obama was firm, telling me, “We’ve got a great voter protection system available. We’re gonna have lawyers dispersed at polling places across the country. We’re going to take very seriously making sure that people’s voting rights are protected.”

But he added that Blacks must step up to the plate, “But I’ll be honest with you, as much of a problem as the voting machines might be or long lines, our biggest impediment to people voting is folks aren’t showing up. And we can go ahead and change that. That’s something in our control. If we decide to get involved and get registered.”

In our interview, Obama calmly explained the issues at stake in this campaign in language everyone understands. Obama told me, “If we don’t make a serious investment in infrastructure, rebuilding our cities and our communities; if we don’t get serious about energy, gas is going to keep on going up four, five dollars a gallon; if we don’t get serious about health care, we’re going to continue to see infant mortality rates that compare to third world countries in some of our neighborhoods; if we don‘t get serious about education, young people who have the skill and talent to go to college aren’t going to go.”

“We are at a defining moment,” Obama emphatically declared, “If we don’t make some good choices right now; if we don’t decide that we are going to move in a different direction and get this country back on track, then we may be the first generation in a very long time that doesn’t pass on a country that’s more unified and more prosperous than the one that we inherited from our parents and grandparents.”

“That is not a future that I accept,” said Obama forcefully, “That’s not a future that you accept. And that’s why I’m running for president of the United States. Because we’re going to create a different future.”

Sen. Obama concluded our interview with a plea to the community. “This year is the time to make a difference. And we’ve got 60 days. I don’t just want people to vote, I want them to volunteer to knock on doors, and get their friends out and talk to their family members. And be part of this campaign for change.”

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