Saturday, October 30, 2010

EXTRA: Obama says we shouldn’t want to “relive the past” on economic issues

Obama: Gets to sleep in his own bed tonight
To listen to President Barack Obama in speaking Saturday to a rally of about 35,000 people spread across the Midway Plaissance, Republican partisans drove the nation’s economy into a ditch, left it to Democrats to push the wreckage of the economy out of that ditch, and now are demanding to have the keys back so they can resume driving.

“We need to tell them, ‘you can’t have the keys back. You don’t know how to drive’,” Obama said. It was that kind of night at the southern edge of the Hyde Park neighborhood, as faint echoes of the old “Oh-Bah-Mah!” chant could be heard around the Midway (although a part of me wonders if those people earlier Saturday in Grant Park who partook in the Chicago offshoot of the Jon Stewart-inspired D.C. "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" had more fun than the Midway crowd).

OBAMA – WHO EARLIER in the day used his regular weekend radio address to say that Democrats and Republicans will have to work together to end the economic struggles facing our nation – insisted that GOP people have been unwilling to do so, purely as a political calculation geared toward the elections to be held Tuesday.

“Their strategy seems to be that all of you will get amnesia,” Obama said, making several references (among them, 4 million jobs lost in the six-month time period before he took the oath of office as president in January of 2009) to the fact that the economic recession began during the presidency of George W. Bush.

“We need to make sure we don’t turn the keys (of control) back to the special interests of Washington,” Obama said.

Even Mayor Richard M. Daley, who served as a warm-up act for the president, played along with that theme, citing “health care,” “jobs” and “economic development” as areas where Obama has had success.

“WE SHOULD THANK him for all the things he has done in less than two years,” the retiring mayor said. “That is a difficult job, but he is up to it. He has the leadership ability, and we should support him,” by voting for his political allies.

Of course, the evening wasn’t all about Republican-bashing. It also was about encouraging the thousands to make sure they cast ballots in Tuesday’s election, and Obama ran through the laundry list of politicos running for office who were present.

They included Senate nominee Alexi Giannoulias and lieutenant governor nominee Sheila Simon, just to name a few. Although in what may be surprising to some, he gave a plug to soon-to-be former Sen. Roland Burris, D-Ill. “If everybody who showed up in 2008 to vote does so again, we’ll win this election,” Obama said.

“If you’re willing to step up, if you’re willing to try, … we will restore our economy, rebuild the middle class, and re-claim the American dream for another generation,” he said.

BUT AS A sign that Obama does understand the priorities of the Chicago political mindset, he did make sure to give prominent mention to Toni Preckwinkle, not so much because she’s running for Cook County Board president, but because she is the alderman in whose ward they were all gathered.

“She’s my alderman,” Obama said.


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