Monday, June 18, 2007

Obama in Newton

I just got home from seeing Barack Obama in Newton. The event wasn't packed like others I had been to, but there was a large crowd of probably 300.

Obama spoke for about 25 minutes and began by discussing this movement that is about more than just him. Obama mentioned over and over the need for people to get involved in helping solve these problems. He said he has had large crowds of 20,000 people in Austin and South Carolina and 10,000 in Iowa City. He said we can make our health care system more efficient by using electronic medial records, fixing No Child Left Behind by putting more resources into the classroom. Obama said teachers want to teach. They didn't get into teaching to get rich. Obama then transitioned into higher education saying students want to go to college, but need to get them the resources so they can afford it. He discussed the need for trade agreements that work for the American worker and not just corporations and he mentioned he voted against CAFTA. He talked about providing tax breaks for companies that keep jobs here and mentioned the Maytag plant closing. He said he would close Guantanamo and restore Habeas Corpus because we want to lead with our ideals and values.

Obama discussed the important issues in his laid back style by giving detailed answers and not dodging the questions. When asked about Iraq, Obama said he thinks we should get our troops out by March 31st of next year. He mentioned Bush comparing the situation to Korea. He stressed that we are not going to be in Iraq permanately and we aren't going to have permanent military bases there.

He then discussed global climate change and laid out 3 things he would do right away. First, he would increase CAFE standards to 40-45 mpg. If we did this we would no longer be importing oil from the Middle East. Then he would require the use of cleaner fuels like ethanol and biodiesel. Finally, he would cap carbon emmissions released by power plants. He said this would cause some pain on the front end, but needs to be done. He said the problem of global climate change can be solved and cited the problem of acid raid in the 1980's. Acid rain is no longer a problem because we set up a cap and trade system that created a market and provided incentives for businesses to solve the problem.

Next he discussed immigration. Again he said we needed to do 3 things. We need to start by providing stronger border security. Next, he said we have no system of holding companies accountable, which recieved applause. He said he would create a tamper proof ID for legal immigrants and create a database that employers have to check. Finally, we need a way for the 12 million undocumented immigrants to gain citizenship, otherwise they would just stay in the shadows. He mentioned that it is unrealistic to deport all 12 million undocumented immigrants. To do that we would have to devote all of our law enforcement officials from local police to the FBI rounding up familys and wouldn't be able to go after the drug dealers and gang bangers. He also said we can't fail to look at the cause of the spike in the immigration over the past decade, which would be NAFTA. NAFTA was supposed to make lives better in Mexico. Instead America's farmers, because our agriculture system is so efficient, sold grains in Mexico, which displaced rural Mexican farmers. These people are trying to feed their families and saw opportunity in America. We need to invest in Mexico, so they have opportunity in their country.

Obama got some points from me for his answers on education. He understands the problems in education. He made some strong statements against so-called free trade and connected it to immigration. However, he could still be stronger for Fair Trade agreements in my opinion. On some of his answers, his answers were very in depth with many specifics and he mentioned some bills he has in the Senate to address the issues. On a few other issues, he seemed to give vague answers that lacked details.

Overall, I am very impressed with Obama and the event. I came away learning more about him as a candidate.


desmoinesdem said...

He is a strong candidate, no doubt. I like to see him and Edwards proposing strong, progressive solutions to the big problems.

I am curious to see what they come up with for tv ads (he'll have enough money to run plenty of them). His speaking style doesn't seem to lend itself to sound bites. Will they go for a 25-second excerpt of him speaking to a huge crowd? Or show him talking to people in a smaller setting? Or run testimonial-type ads?

Caucus Eye said...

I was there, it was a great event.
Here are some of the pictures I took at the event.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a fair and fact-based appraisal of Senator Obama's event.
I have been particularly impressed with his understanding of the issues in public education. It is obvious to me that he is listening to all and learning from the teachers he has been speaking to at his various campaign stops.
I was there and he was great!