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Obama to Elkhart: I'll Do All I Can

President Obama traveled to Elkhart, Ind., today to make the case for his stimulus plan and call attention to the economic troubles in Elkhart and elsewhere across the nation. Obama's remarks, as prepared for delivery, follow:

I want to start by thanking Ed for coming here today and sharing his family's story with all of us.

You know, we tend to take the measure of the economic crisis we face in numbers and statistics. But when we say we've lost 3.6 million jobs since this recession began - nearly 600,000 in the past month alone; when we say that this area has lost jobs faster than anywhere else in America, with an unemployment rate over 15 percent; when we talk about layoffs at companies like Monaco Coach, Keystone RV, and Pilgrim International - companies that have sustained this community for years - we're talking about Ed Neufeldt and people like him all across this country.

We're talking about folks who've lost their livelihood and don't know what will take its place. Parents who've lost their health care and lie awake nights praying the kids don't get sick. Families who've lost the home that was their corner of the American dream. Young people who put that college acceptance letter back in the envelope because they just can't afford it.

That's what those numbers and statistics mean. That is the true measure of this economic crisis. Those are the stories I heard when I came here to Elkhart six months ago and that I have carried with me every day since.

I promised you back then that if elected President, I would do everything I could to help this community recover. And that's why I've come back today - to tell you how I intend to keep that promise.

The situation we face could not be more serious. We have inherited an economic crisis as deep and as dire as any since the Great Depression. Economists from across the spectrum have warned that if we don't act immediately, millions more jobs will be lost, and national unemployment rates will approach double digits. More people will lose their homes and their health care. And our nation will sink into a crisis that, at some point, we may be unable to reverse.

So we can no longer afford to wait and see and hope for the best. We can no longer posture and bicker and resort to the same failed ideas that got us into this mess in the first place - and that the American people rejected at the polls this past November. You didn't send us to Washington because you were hoping for more of the same. You sent us there with a mandate for change, and the expectation that we would act quickly and boldly to carry it out - and that is exactly what I intend to do as President of the United States.

That is why I put forth a Recovery and Reinvestment Plan that is now before Congress. At its core is a very simple idea: to put Americans back to work doing the work America needs done.

The plan will save or create three to four million jobs over the next two years. But not just any jobs - jobs that meet the needs we've neglected for far too long and lay the groundwork for long-term economic growth: jobs fixing our schools; computerizing medical records to save costs and save lives; repairing our infrastructure; and investing in renewable energy to help us move toward energy independence. The plan also calls for immediate tax relief for 95 percent of American workers.

Now I know that some of you might be thinking, well that all sounds good, but when are we going to see any of that here in Elkhart? What does all that mean for our families and our community? Those are exactly the kind of questions you should be asking of your President and your government, and today, I want to provide some answers - and I want to be as specific as I can.

First, this plan will provide for extended unemployment insurance, health care and other assistance for workers and families who have lost their jobs in this recession.

That will mean an additional $100 per month in unemployment benefits to more than 450,000 Indiana workers, extended unemployment benefits for another 89,000 folks who've been laid off and can't find work, and job training assistance to help more than 51,000 people here get back on their feet.

That is not only our moral responsibility - to lend a helping hand to our fellow Americans in times of emergency - but it also makes good economic sense. If you don't have money, you can't spend it. And if people don't spend, our economy will continue to decline.

For that same reason, the plan includes badly needed tax relief for middle class workers and families. The middle class is under siege, and we need to give you more of the money you've earned, so you can spend it and pay your bills. Under our plan, individuals get $500 - families, $1,000 - providing relief for nearly 2.5 million workers and their families here in Indiana.

The plan will also provide a partially refundable $2,500 per-student tax credit to help 76,000 Hoosier families send their kids to college. This will benefit your household budgets in the short run, and will benefit America in the long run.

But providing tax relief, and college assistance and help to folks who've lost their jobs is not enough. A real recovery plan helps create more jobs and put people back to work.

That's why, between the investments our plan makes - and the tax relief for small businesses it provides - we'll create or save nearly 80,000 badly needed jobs for Indiana in the next two years. Now, you may have heard some of the critics of our plan saying that it would create mostly government jobs. That's simply not true. More than 90 percent of these jobs will be in the private sector. More than 90 percent.

But it's not just the jobs that will benefit Indiana and the rest of America. It's the work people will be doing: Rebuilding our roads, bridges, dams and levees. Roads like US 31 here in Indiana that Hoosiers count on, and that connect small towns and rural communities to opportunities for economic growth. And I know that a new overpass downtown would make a big difference for businesses and families right here in Elkhart.

We'll also put people to work rebuilding our schools so all our kids can have the world-class classrooms, labs and libraries they need to compete in today's global economy.

Investing in clean alternative sources of energy and the electric grid we need to transport it from coast to coast, helping make Indiana an energy-producing state, not just an energy-consuming state. Weatherizing homes across this state, and installing state of the art equipment to help you control your energy costs.

Building new high-speed broadband lines, reaching schools and small businesses in rural Indiana so they can connect and compete with their counterparts in any city in any country in the world.

And there is much, much more.

Now I'm not going to tell you that this bill is perfect. It isn't. But it is the right size, the right scope, and has the right priorities to create jobs that will jumpstart our economy and transform it for the twenty-first century.

I also can't tell you with one hundred percent certainty that everything in this plan will work exactly as we hope. But I can tell you with complete confidence that endless delay or paralysis in Washington in the face of this crisis will bring only deepening disaster.

We've had a good debate. Now it's time to act. That's why I am calling on Congress to pass this bill immediately. Folks here in Elkhart and across America need help right now, and they can't afford to keep on waiting for folks in Washington to get this done.

We know that even with this plan, the road ahead won't be easy. This crisis has been a long time in the making, and we know that we cannot turn it around overnight. Recovery will likely be measured in years, not weeks or months. But we also know that our economy will be stronger for generations to come if we commit ourselves to the work that needs to be done today. And being here in Elkhart, I am more confident than ever before that we will get where we need to be.

Because while I know people are struggling, I also know that folks here are good workers and good neighbors who step up, help each other out, and make sacrifices when times are tough. I know that all folks here are asking for is a chance to work hard - and to have that work translate into a decent life for you and your family.

So I know you all are doing your part out here - and I think it's about time the government did its part too. That's what the recovery plan before Congress is about. And that is why I hope Congress passes it as soon as humanly possible, so we can get to work creating jobs, helping families and turning our economy around.

Thank you, and I'd now like to open this up for questions.

By Web Politics Editor  |  February 9, 2009; 12:19 PM ET
Categories:  Primary Source  
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Next: An Elkhart Primer



No reply?

Posted by: JakeD | February 10, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

For the record, it has now been longer that "htruman" has not responded to my post than my response to your post -- note that I will not claim you are running away from the facts -- if you don't want to answer my question, no skin off my nose.

Posted by: JakeD | February 9, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse


Remember, if you will answer my simple questions in a civil manner, I will always return to you the same common courtesy.

Posted by: JakeD | February 9, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse

I make my living taking care of sick children and sometimes saving, or extending and improving the quality of their lives. I have a front row seat to the origins of human life, and unfortunatly sometimes its premature end. I work with some of the best in the business.

As a result of this experience I've learned to recognize the language of those who are truly engaged in helping others.

You don't speak that language. You speak the english version of the Taliban's vernacular.

Posted by: rooster54 | February 9, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse


Not sure what "flagging" posts means (or that I even want to know). I am definitely not "trying to run from the facts" here -- I was gone for the afternoon, if that's O.K. with you -- interestingly, you may just be the first person who wants me to post MORE often though ; )

As for the unsupported allegation that I believe "Jesus ostracize[d] the weak and kisse[d] up to the period equivalent of corporate imperialism" that's just not true. You seem eager to paint me as a hypocrite, but that's simply not going to stick. Abortion is my number one domestic issue precisely because I follow Jesus's command to care for the least of these. If BORN children were being killed by licensed doctors like this, I would be up in arms about that too.

So, what actual position of mine are you insisting for Scriptural support again?

Posted by: JakeD | February 9, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

In 1999, Robert Bly wrote a book called "The Sibling Society". Its about a generation that has lost its way to maturity. The things that have happened since then make it seem prophetic.

One of the things he talks about is a tendency to personify wealth. He says that once you give wealth human attributes (e.g the market knowing how to correct itself), you then begin to have feelings for it. Once you have empathy for money, you begin to have antipathy for people because they may threaten it. This reminds me that the love of money was once declared the root of all evil.

I know Rush Limbaugh once had dittoheads wearing ribbons made of dollar bills to show their emotional support for money, to protect it from those who would spend it on social programs.

Money serves me. I chose not to serve it. I can't have two masters.

Posted by: rooster54 | February 9, 2009 7:13 PM | Report abuse

rooster54 -- I agree with you 100%. Hopefully you caught on to the tongue and cheek nature of my last post. Keep up the good work, the fake Christian front needs to be called out for what it is, a fringe minority of misanthropes.

Posted by: htruman | February 9, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

I'm with you.

All this outrage over abortion would make more sense if it were accompanied by genuine empathy for others. The outrage is probably tied more to some unconfessed misogyny. Nothing I read from the likes of JakeD seems motivated by any genuine love of humanity.

Posted by: rooster54 | February 9, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Apparently JakeD can't take it when you press him to support his ramblings with actual scriptural references.

What's up JD.... why you flagging my posts? Did they put you on the spot? You trying to run from the facts?

Any of you regulars notice how Jake was an Independent in the primaries, and how he has repeatedly denied being influenced by Fox, that is until he started stocking this site with Fox News links. Don't know about the rest of you, but I have more confidence in the legitimacy of BHO's Christianity than I do in JakeD's.

Posted by: htruman | February 9, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse



Posted by: cintronlourdes | February 9, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

It was part of Reagan's Faustian bargain to conflate Christianity with right wing ideology for reasons of political expediency. The result was an arrogant imperialist movement supported by ethnocentric zenophobes who were incapable of self-examination. This incapacity made them the very type of distructive hypocrites Jesus warned his followers about.

Posted by: rooster54 | February 9, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe the jerkoffs here talking about Jesus being a Christian.... There were not Christians during the Jesus era!! Dumba...sss. Jesus is Jewish, always was, always will be. Get over the Christian thing...It's the Christian right wing that has us all in this healthcare, economy, education mess. I am sick of Christian crapola. I know atheist that are kinder then any Christian I know and I am 66 years old.

Posted by: mzbond | February 9, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

The Bible is more Christian than Ayn Rand's (or any human) book.

Posted by: JakeD | February 9, 2009 3:21 PM

Then why don't you try: (a) following it and/or (b) preaching it for a change rather than Ayn Rand's propaganda?

On that topic I'm still waiting for you to enlighten us all with that passage in the Bible where Jesus ostracizes the weak and kisses up to the period equivalent of corporate imperialism. Until that time you'll have to excuse me for doubting the moral supremacy of your position. I think it's great that you are appalled by abortion. After all many of us on the pragmatic left share your concern on this subject. However, caring about the person while they are in the womb does not relieve you from your responsibility of working for a world where people have the right and opportunity to live a life WITH dignity outside of the womb.

The very fact that you shirk and deride this last responsibility shows that you need to spend a little more time discovering what your Bible actually says.

Sorry Jake, there's nothing new about fake Christianity. It's called cognitive dissonance... rationalizing and denying one's contradictory behavior to assuage the ol conscience. Good luck with that, but please don't call it Christianity lest you give the real Christians a bad name.

Posted by: htruman | February 9, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Based on Republican's comments, its clear that the President should immediately double or triple the amount of money going to ACORN and drop the tax cuts for multi-millionaires.

Whatever the Republicans want, he should do the opposite, just like they did to us.

Lets see how they like their own medicine.

We'll provide it free of charge.

In 2010 we'll provide the Republican Party with free end-of-life care.

Posted by: svreader | February 9, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

BabeNemo-Yes, and a BIGGER disappointment, and Un-Wanted collection of moronic Acts;

would be hard to find!

Posted by: SAINT---The | February 9, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

well....just in case. for sh*ts and giggles today's a list of Executive Orders already put in place by President Obama. For those who don't believe he is doing anything but smoking cigs and playing basketball..

Executive Order: Use of Project Labor Agreements for Federal Construction Projects

Presidential Executive Order Establishing the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board

Amendments to Executive Order 13199 and Establishment of the President's Advisory Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

Nondisplacement of Qualified Workers Under Service Contracts

Executive Order -- Economy in Government Contracting

Executive Order -- Notificiation of Employee Rights Under Federal Labor Laws

Review of Detention Policy Options

Closure Of Guantanamo Detention Facilities

Ensuring Lawful Interrogations

Presidential Records

Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Personnel

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | February 9, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

The Bible is more Christian than Ayn Rand's (or any human) book.

Posted by: JakeD | February 9, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

No, I am staying right here until the Good Lord calls me home. Next canard?

Posted by: JakeD | February 9, 2009 3:15 PM

Jake - I bet the good lord can't wait to spend an eternity with you! You two can go on and on about Ayn Rand's "The Virtue of Selfishness"

After all, what could be more Christian than that?

Posted by: htruman | February 9, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Dear rooster54, you're way off dude! JakeD can prove to you that there's a passage in the Bible where it praises Jesus for being a sycophant to the powerful few. Thus JakeD's got the high ground man. He's not another one of those "fake Christians" who hides behind God to mask his misanthropic nature.

Respect.... :-P

Posted by: htruman | February 9, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

No, I am staying right here until the Good Lord calls me home. Next canard?

Posted by: JakeD | February 9, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Hey JakeD, when are you going to move to Italy? Rumor has it that their Prime Min is big on fascism. I bet that's right up your ally isn't it?

Btw, you still have that shrine up for the ghost of Pinochet?

Posted by: htruman | February 9, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

the Census is going to be fun because of what they are calling "blended families".

dick and jane get foreclosed.
go to live with brother john and his wife jan.
we now have a 4 income household within 2 families (if dick and jane get jobs, etc)
so where is the "household" now, if we have 2 to 3 families earning money.....???

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | February 9, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

well, at least we still have a bid process.

90. S.AMDT.176 to H.R.1 To require the use of competitive procedures to award contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements funded under this Act.
Sponsor: Sen Coburn, Tom [OK] (introduced 2/3/2009) Cosponsors (None)
Latest Major Action: 2/6/2009 Senate amendment agreed to. Status: Amendment SA 176 agreed to in Senate by Yea-Nay Vote. 97 - 0. Record Vote Number: 52.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | February 9, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse


The GOP have sounded the alarm on politicizing the U.S. Census too.

Posted by: JakeD | February 9, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

The crucifixion of Jesus was man at his worst and God at His best. It was the ugliness of mankind meeting the beauty of God. Any representaion of this subject fails if it doesn't arouse some level of disgust.

You narcissistic ignoramuses continue to strain at gnats and swallow camels. Whatever you do to the least of these you do to the Christ you profess to serve. You crucifify Christ afresh when you fight healthcare for children, so you can afford bombs to drop on other people's children.

Posted by: rooster54 | February 9, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

OK, I will admit;

I am waaaayyyyyyy more than MAD at this point!

There comes a point!

As I struggle to even figure out how I am going to get Gas money to drive to a(Nother) Job Interview;

Seeing MORON, after FEDERAL Moron throw so much Good Money(They are Borrowing) after ABSOLUTELY WASTED Money;

When People like myself need it so bad;

Drives me NUTS!

At just what point, are we allowed to act like citizens of so many other countries, and March out and DEMAND actions?!

Cripes! Illegals with NO Rights to even be here are already doing here-Just because we try to tell them they do not belong here!

Excuse me for not wanting to Bleat!

I am ready to BEAT! As in Sense into some congressional Moron's heads!(Figuratively-Of Course)! ;~)

Worst part for ME. I can NOT make my Comments at the Local Political Level and make any difference!

MY Reps, Kay Bailey-Hutchinson, and John Cornyn;

Are the GOOD Guys!

It's all the worthless Moron Reps you Others have, and fail to hold accountable, that are the PROBLEMS!

Posted by: SAINT---The | February 9, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse


The GOP have indeed raised the warning flag (but, sorry, their heads did not explode).

Posted by: JakeD | February 9, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

interesting to note here how HR1 is seemingly picking up the tab, in some places, for No Child Left Behind.....

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | February 9, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Threats? Moi?

Warning someone who is ripping me off to the tune of $17,000 and growing, while insulting me with a piddly $500 for the ability to do it;

NOT to be in front of MY Moving Vehichle;

Is simply Valuable, and Conscientous ADVICE! :~)

Same I'd offer to someone who Mugged me!

After all, I would NOT want to get into trouble myself, because someone who wronged me, TEMPTED me to get even!

Posted by: SAINT---The | February 9, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Let's hope it does. Both are excellent examples of highly stimulative expenditures with extremely valuable societal benefits.

Posted by: zukermand | February 9, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

For the other posters, NEA also stands for National Education Association. I'm pretty sure that's the one being funded by this bill--not the National Endowment for the Arts. If that were the case, the Republicans' heads would have exploded by now.

Posted by: forgetthis | February 9, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

HR1 passed with $50 million for NEA and $350 million for STD. I don't know yet whether the Senate version (or final conference bill) will include those line items.

Posted by: JakeD | February 9, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse


I wonder how the Secret Service will like your threats against the President. I took a screen capture of the page just in case The Washington Post removes it. I will be emailing it off shortly to the proper authorities. Good Luck!

Posted by: TheDiplomat | February 9, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

I am definitely a conservative, but I would be on board only if the plan was purified. If it was only energy and infrastructure, I would whole-heartedly support it. But that's not what this is. Weatherizing homes? Are you serious? Where did that one come from? And that's not all. Some of this is plain pork. And he wonders why there is so much debate. Get a clue.

Posted by: forgetthis | February 9, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

okay...the arts...
i thought the money was taken out of HR1 for that.
i know that STD and smoking cessation have been taken out.

gotta have my cig before i go out on my date ya know !!!

i heard over the weekend that there is CASH REBATE and cash assistance for solar programs now.....trying to find it

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | February 9, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

No -- I'm not angry at all -- my considered opinion is that it would literally be better to dump $50 million into the Pacific Ocean than fund another Piss Christ (or worse). Maybe I'm a bit regretful that Reagan was unable to abolish the NEA.

Posted by: JakeD | February 9, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

$50 million for the NEA won't "create jobs, help families or turn our economy around." It would be better to dump $50 million into the Pacific Ocean.

Posted by: JakeD

Your anger is making you stupid.

Posted by: zukermand | February 9, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse


National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), including Piss Christ.

Posted by: JakeD | February 9, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

If you continue to think John Wayne movies were documentaries, then you'll continue to confuse the Reagan narrative with reality.

Standing back to watch anyone take the fall during an economic crisis is a kind of serve serving behavior that shows one is unfit for public service.

Posted by: rooster54 | February 9, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

indiana is at 15.3 unemployment.
highest in the land.

extending benefits 100 a month will help, if you have curtailed your lifestyle.

besides, all the phones are busy.
not only do we have a mass influx of unemployed people...they are unemployed people who cannot get online or on the phone to their state's unemployment office.
it's a mess.

hey are talking NEA. what agency is that one?

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | February 9, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse


Of course, AF1 is exempt from fuel regulations -- maybe if the President had to fly with the common people, he or she would know how it impacts us -- did you know it costs over $200 million per year to fly AF1?

Posted by: JakeD | February 9, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Standing back and letting Obama take the fall (or credit) is not "sabotage". Next canard?

Posted by: JakeD | February 9, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse




EYES ONLY. TO: President Obama; MICHELLE OBAMA; VP Biden; R. Emanuel; D. Axelrod; D. Blair; J. Brennan; J. Jones; E. Holder; J. Napolitano; R. Gates; L. Panetta; H. Clinton; T. Geithner; R. Mueller; H. Reid; N. Pelosi; D. Feinstein; S. Reyes


...comprised of security/intel agents, local police nationwide, and citizen vigilantes fronted by government-funded community policing and anti-terrorism programs.




Posted by: scrivener50 | February 9, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

How sad that Obama is in Indiana, the RV capitol of America, an industry destroyed by mandated "cafe" standards and green house fantasies. Expect Dumbo to fly around the nation in his newest toy, AF 1.

Posted by: nmg3rln | February 9, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Many republicans will try to sabotage Obama'a efforts to fix what they broke, so they can foster an illusion that the democrats made things worse, so that we might consent to letting them finish us off.

Most of the money we lost ended up in the hands of those who had free reign to do as they pleased under the illegitimate presidency of G.W.Bush. Because their disproportionate accumulation of wealth, created by us, gives them a lot of sway through corporate advertising dollars, the corporate media will continue to avoid reporting news unfavorable to right wing interests.
Don't fall for the popular lie that the corporate media are slanted to the left. There no money in liberal bias.

Real events often happen faster than they can be politically spun, and when they do, they are reported more accurately.

Accurate reporting results in stories that are left of the Reagan narrative, disturbing the status quo, so idiots like Limbaugh accuse the right wing media of being liberal when they can't alter the perception of facts quickly enough.

This is why a hack like Limbaugh can get interviewed on mainstream media, and a qualified and proven journalist, like Amy Goodman cannot.

Don't fall for right wing tricks financed with money stolen from our labor.

Posted by: rooster54 | February 9, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: JakeD | February 9, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Careful, SAINT--The, with the threats.

Posted by: JakeD | February 9, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Barack Obama just admitted he does not have a Frigging CLUE!

What he was promising the People, was that he is going to let them join the Welfare Class!

The Middle Class has been under siege all right-for the last three decades!

Wage suppression, un-wanted, and often ILLEGAL job Competition, Community destruction by Socialism sucking non-contributing extended family members of the Job Stealers, and a Federal Government OBLIVIOUS to the plight!

Yeah Obasama, WE NEED MONEY! A whole lot more than the Banks who repo'ed our secured assets!

$2 TRILLION for your Pet Projects and Banking Partners in Crime, and $500 to us-along with food Stamps and un-employment!

Don't be in the road in front of MY Truck! :-(

I could easily claim "Temporary Insanity"!

Posted by: SAINT---The | February 9, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

I've already said my piece on Elkhart:

$50 million for the NEA won't "create jobs, help families or turn our economy around." It would be better to dump $50 million into the Pacific Ocean.

Posted by: JakeD | February 9, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

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