Recruiting Voters and a Quarterback, Obama Touches Down in New Orleans
By Shailagh Murray
NEW ORLEANS -- Sen. Barack Obama came to this beleaguered city on an important mission.
"We need a quarterback in Chicago," he told a cheering crowd on the Tulane University campus. "Is there another Manning brother somewhere?"
Before a crowd of 3,500, with 1,500 more listening on loudspeakers outside, Obama pledged to rebuild New Orleans and tackle the poverty and social problems that have riven this city since long before Hurricane Katrina hit.
Obama's promises to the city include: a new hospital downtown and federal funds to revamp the police force; a faster and more efficient rebuilding effort; a $250 million investment to bring teachers and principals back to the Gulf region, with bonuses for those who make a three-year commitment.
Addressing the many students who filled the basketball arena, Obama urged them to stay behind in New Orleans after graduating "to make this work your own. Because you are the change that this city seeks. You can be this city's tomorrow. You can help close those divisions that have plagued us for so long." Two days after Fat Tuesday, he noted: "This is not summer camp. We are not here for fun."
Speaking of Fat Tuesday, the Obama campaign reported that its post-Feb. 5 haul had risen to $7.5 million.
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