Skip to comments.Obama vows to fight for middle class in Roanoke appearance [Roanoke Va newspaper]
Posted on 07/17/2012 11:16:20 AM PDT by mbarker12474
Obama vows to fight for middle class in Roanoke appearance
Some 3,000 people gathered in downtown Roanoke to hear the president outline his economic policies, present and future.
By Mason Adams 981-3253
An enthusiastic crowd cheers for President Barack Obama in Roanoke on Friday night.
Dark clouds loomed above the brightly lit bricks of historic Fire Station No. 1 in Roanoke, but the rain held off as President Barack Obama rallied a crowd of energized supporters by casting the fall election as a choice between policies that help the rich and those that help the middle and working classes.
More than 3,000 people crammed into a one-block stretch of Church Avenue framed by multistory buildings, filling spaces in the street between bleachers, press risers and lifts adorned with lights that illuminated the street.
Obama emphasized the theme of class conflict, casting Republican challenger Mitt Romney's economic plan as a return to "trickle-down" economics and the policies of former President George W. Bush. He said Republicans want to do two things: Cut taxes for the wealthy and eliminate regulations on banks, credit card companies, polluters and other businesses.
"Their basic theory is if wealthy investors are doing well, everybody does well," Obama said.
But he added, "I just want to point out we tried their theory for almost 10 years, and here's what it got us: We've got the slowest job growth in decades. We've got deficits as far as the eye can see. Your incomes and your wages didn't go up."
Obama then laid out what he sees as his alternative to trickle-down economics: "I believe that the way you grow the economy is from the middle out. I believe that you grow the economy from the bottom up. I believe that when working people are doing well, the country does well. I believe in fighting for the middle class, because if they're prospering, all of us will prosper."
Obama said that his administration promoted and helped pass a series of tax cuts - the Making Work Pay tax credit for working families, the American Opportunity Tax Credit for students and the payroll tax cut extended earlier this year - that saved $3,600 over his first term for families that earn $50,000 annually.
He also promoted a proposal, floated earlier this week, to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for another year, but only on the first $250,000 of annual income.
"The bottom line is the top 2 percent doesn't need help," Obama said. "They're doing just fine."
Republicans want to extend the tax cuts for all income levels, and Romney has said Obama's proposal to let the cuts expire for the top 2 percent amounts to a tax increase.
But Obama said his proposal would ensure a continued tax cut for 98 percent of Americans.
According to the Nielsen Co., 3,205 households - or 2.5percent - earned more than $200,000 last year in Roanoke's statistical area, which includes Roanoke, Roanoke County, Botetourt County, Craig County, Franklin County and Salem. Estimates for the number of households making more than $250,000 in the area were not available.
The rally was less than half the size of his appearance at the Roanoke Civic Center four years ago, which drew 8,000 supporters, but it still carried a rock concert feel, with people cheering and screaming, "I love you" throughout the president's speech.
Obama won the commonwealth in 2008, becoming the first Democrat since Lyndon Johnson in 1964 to do so. This year Virginia is considered a pivotal battleground state in the race to 270 electoral votes this November.
One indicator of the region's importance: Romney held a campaign event here June 26, attracting nearly 1,500 supporters for a rally at Carter Machinery in Salem.
The president is in the midst of a two-day swing with appearances in each of Virginia's major media markets. He was joined at events in Virginia Beach, Hampton and Roanoke on Friday by U.S. Sen. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, who is running as the Democratic nominee against Republican George Allen for Virginia's other seat in the Senate.
Prior to the Roanoke event, state Del. Greg Habeeb, R-Salem, delivered a statement on behalf of the Republican Party.
"Four years ago the president came here and said he'd wake up every morning thinking about Southside and Southwest Virginia," Habeeb said. "I hope while he's here he gets the chance to see firsthand the consequences of his policies, how the unemployment has skyrocketed, our debt has skyrocketed, our deficit has skyrocketed. We see up and down Southwest and Southside Virginia the impact on coal and energy rates and what he's doing to families and small business in this community. We hope that while he's here rather than just have a political speech he takes some time and actually talks to some folks and sees the impact of his policies."
But Obama, Warner and Kaine all argued that the president has helped hold the line against an economy that could have been much worse in the wake of a recession that started just before he took office in early 2009.
Kaine said that when Obama first took office, the American economy was hemorrhaging more than 700,000 jobs a month. And although jobs growth has been sluggish in recent months, both Kaine and Warner said that 4.4 million private sector jobs have been created during the president's term so far.
Obama offered the 2009 bailout of the Detroit-based auto industry as another example of a policy he says benefitted the middle class.
And he predicted that, like the auto industry, he's going to come back and surprise a lot of doubters, too.
"The pundits, they didn't think I could win Virginia the last time," Obama said. "The last time I came to this part of Virginia, all the political writers were like, 'He's not serious. He's just making a tactical move.'
"I'm serious, I'm going to get some votes down here."
Couldnt agree more.
Progressive politicians do what progressives do, but the news media has a moral obligation to be objective when reporting. They have been failing in that obligation for decades.
I can't believe it survives other than a bunch subscribers that have always gotten the newspaper. I understand it when I see that kind of paper in a left wing city, but I never saw Roanoke as a town like that.
When those who produce Go Galt, our absence will be felt, unlike our presence which is ignored.
Yep. But those subscribers are greater in number than for any other printed news source in that part of southwest Virginia. People who are nominally conservative by nature, or would otherwise be conservative and vote conservatively, are shaped by their casual intake of local sources carrying the AP, Reuters, and other major wire and service feeds. And they become liberals in the election booth. In this case, the article was by a local writer who is either an incompetent journalist, or knowingly ignoring the biggest news story of the day in favor of manufacturing news about the messiah's fans in Roanoke. Usually its a dishonest AP writer.
I'll believe that when they're offering $0.25 cents for their pelts.
Oh please don’t help me, I beg of you PLEASE DON’T HELP,just get the hell out of the way.
As a commie ideologue, Obama doesn’t believe in the middle class. He believes in masters and serfs, a reversal of every gain made by Western civilization since the Dark Ages, returning us to the glory days of Islam and suffering.
I’m shocked and amazed that Warner and Kaine campaigned with Obama. Virginia must really have gone to he!!.
I thought only in California, Illinois, New York, and Massachusetts would candidates appear with Baraq.
Fighting for the middle class in Roanoke is the financial equivalent of fighting for the homeless in NY.