Obama makes it personal
WCLO's Stan Stricker reports on Barack Obama's address at General Motors in Janesville
The full speech given by Senator Barack Obama at the General Motors plant in Janesville as heard on WCLO.
Senator Barack Obama visited the General Motors plant in Janesville Wednesday.
JANESVILLE Riding a wave of momentum, Sen. Barack Obama directed his presidential campaign and an economic policy proposal at GM employees in Janesville late this morning.
The Illinois Democrat proposed spending $60 billion on U.S. infrastructure over 10 years and paying for the work by ending the Iraq War.
Obama personalized his message to his audience:
“I know that General Motors received some bad news yesterday, and I know how hard your governor has fought to keep jobs in this plant. But I also know how much progress you’ve made—how many hybrids and fuel-efficient vehicles you’re churning out.
“And I believe that if our government is there to support you and give you the assistance you need to re-tool and make this transition, that this plant will be here for another 100 years,” he said.
“The question is not whether a clean energy economy is in our future; it’s where it will thrive,” Obama said. “I want it to thrive right here in the United States of America—right here in Wisconsin—and that’s the future I’ll fight for as your president.”
The bad news Obama referred to was GM’s announcement Tuesday of a $38.7 million loss for 2007 and buyout and early retirement offers to all of its hourly workers.
The momentum comes from Obama’s Tuesday sweep of the “Potomac primaries”—Virginia, Maryland and District of Columbia. Wisconsin residents will vote in presidential primaries Tuesday.
Obama used the GM visit to present what he billed his comprehensive economic agenda. The Janesville Gazette received excerpts of the speech ahead of time.
Speaking to GM employees, the media and invited guests only, Obama said:
“For our economy, our safety and our workers, we have to rebuild America. I’m proposing a national infrastructure reinvestment bank that will invest $60 billion over 10 years. This investment will multiply into almost half a trillion dollars of additional infrastructure spending and generate nearly two million new jobs—many of them in the construction industry that’s been hard hit by this housing crisis. …
“And we’ll fund this bank by ending this war in Iraq. It’s time to stop spending billions of dollars a week trying to put Iraq back together and start spending the money on putting America back together instead,” Obama said.
He also proposed investing $150 billion over 10 years to establish a green energy sector that, he said, will create up to 5 million good-paying new jobs over the next 20 years.
Obama laid the blame for U.S. economic woes on President Bush and his opponents: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., and Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
“It was a failure of leadership and imagination in Washington—the culmination of decades of decisions that were made or put off without regard to the realities of a global economy and the growing inequality it’s produced,” Obama said.
“It’s a Washington where George Bush hands out billions in tax cuts year after year to the biggest corporations and the wealthiest few, who don’t need them and don’t ask for them—tax breaks that are mortgaging our children’s future on a mountain of debt, tax breaks that could’ve gone into the pockets of the working families who needed them most,” he said.
“It’s a Washington where politicians like John McCain and Hillary Clinton voted for a war in Iraq that should’ve never been authorized and never been waged—a war that is costing us thousands of precious lives and billions of dollars a week that could’ve been used to rebuild crumbling schools and bridges, roads and buildings, that could’ve been invested in job training and child care, in making health care affordable or putting college within reach.”