Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Obama Rocks Trenton (and I was there)

I have nothing against people getting rich, but our economy is only as strong as the middle class. As president I won't just pass laws that favor workers, I'll use my "bully pulpit" to be a friend to working men and women.
--Sen. Obama, click to enlarge


Senator Barack Obama was in Trenton today, part of the "Working Families Vote '08" campaign launched earlier this year by the AFL-CIO.

The campaign -- which looks to engage rank and file members in Labor's endorsement process -- is a series of town hall-style forums with each of the Democratic presidential candidates in different cities throughout the nation.

(The campaign culminates in August with a multi-candidate forum in Chicago. The AFL-CIO's endorsement will follow shortly thereafter.)

How lucky are we to get Senator Obama here in the Garden State? Several NJ Union members each got a chance to talk to the the Senator about what's on their mind.

A steelworker asked Obama how he might handle future trade negotiations.

Obama said he'd start by enforcing trade policy against counties like China for example, which manipulates its currency.

This not only makes Chinese goods artificially cheaper on the export market, it also puts American imports out of reach for most Chinese consumers. God knows if we had 1.2 billion Chinese buying American-made good, that would be a helluva lot of manufacturing jobs, huh?

Obama's observations on healthcare were compelling. Reminding the audience that only 5 cents of every health care dollar (all 2 trillion of 'em) is spent on preventative care, he wondered how this would be better allocated if so many people weren't uninsured to begin with.

Access to affordable health care would keep many from having to rely on the emergency room for their primary medical care, he noted. Chances are by that point, patients are a lot more expensive to treat. Which is money wasted.

By the end of the forum, Obama had hit all the right notes on issues like healthcare, retirement security, and good jobs with freedom to form unions.

Judging from the crowd's reply, Obama was a huge hit. I counted several rousing ovations. I even got goosebumps a few times.

All in all, Sen. Obama looked sharp and well-rested. His connection to the audience was apparent and I suspect when he and his campaign look back on today's event, they'll be very satisfied indeed.

(Crossposted over at Blue Jersey)

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