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September 02, 2008 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-09-02

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Wednesday, September 2, 2008 7A


The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Wednesday, September 2, 2008 - 7A

Spotlight on Mich. as Obama crosses the state

Obama lays out plan for reviving state's economy

In Detroit, Obama scraps stump to
rally support for hurricane victims

Daily Staff Reporter
BATTLE CREEK - Michigan is a
crucial battleground for the presidential
hopefuls, so it comes as no surprise that
Sen. Barack Obama's campaign chose to
include three stops in the Great Lakes
State among his first few public appear-
ances following the Democratic National
Michigan and its 17 electoral votes are
up for grabs, and the near-even political
division in the state means the candidates
will be working hard to win over its resi-
At 8.5 percent, Michigan's unemploy-
ment rate is the highest in the nation,
nearly 3 percent higher than the national
average, according to the U.S. Bureau.of
Labor Statistics. Five thousand Michi-
gan workers lost their jobs in the month
of July and about 49,000 became unem- Democrat
ployed over the past year, according to the weekend.
Michigan Department of Labor and Eco-
nomic Growth. Obama c
Before coming to Michigan, Obama push as r
and his running mate, Sen. Joe Biden, "It's n
made stops in Pennsylvania and Ohio, about yo
where they gave speeches about the plan' doesn't k
they hope will provide economic relief for know ho
working class families. going thr
"America is not only suffering from gotten.'
economic stagnation, but what we're also After t
concerned about is whether or not we are "people
going to be able to pass on a better future mentally
to our children and our grandchildren;' nomic pl
Obama said here Sunday to a crowd of He vo
17,500. "There is something unacceptable compani
about that, Michigan.' tax incen
Those in Battle Creek were grateful to U.S. wor
have their concerns receiving national at- relief to
tention. breaksto
For Kim Coady, a recent Michigan State Obama p
University graduate who moved to Chi- prescript
cago after she couldn't find a job in Michi- belief in
gan, Obama's speech was reason to hope. accessibi
"He sees our failing economy and students
wants to give us support and let us know When
he's going to be there for us in the future," affordab
Coady said. "He understands our diffi- school g
culties." will" to
During his speech, Obama criticized crowd in
presumptive Republican nominee John students
McCain's economic plan as out of touch and Kala
with the American people - an attack the Brittn

ic presidential nominee Barack Obama made a campaign swing through Michigan this

campaign will likely continue to
Nov. 4 nears.
ot that John McCain doesn't care
u," Obama said. "I just think he
know how you live. He doesn't
w hard you work and what you're
rough and how tough times have
telling the crowd that he believes
are ready for something funda-
new," Obama laid out his eco-
wed to eliminate tax breaks for
es that outsource jobs and create
ntives for companies investing in
kers. He said he won't provide tax
corporations, but will provide tax
'95 percentofAmericanfamilies.
ledged to lower health care and
ion drug costs and reiterated his
making college affordable and
le to middle- and lower-income
he promised to make college
le and accessible for every high
raduate who has "the desire, the
pursue higher education, the
Battle Creek - which included
from Ann Arbor, East Lansing
mazoo - erupted with cheers.
i Williams, a sophomore in West-

ern Michigan University's nursing pro-
gram, said she thinks Obama's plan to
lower the cost of college and to provide
affordable health care would jumpstart
the Michigan economy.
University alum Sarah Clevinger, who
graduated in April and works at Univer-
sity Hospital, said Obama's plan provides
hope that Michigan will recover and will
change the job outlook for those entering
the workforce after graduation. Clevinger
said she was able to get a job in the health
care field, but that people she knew
weren't as lucky.
"Many of my friends left Michigan be-
cause of the lack of jobs," she said.
Before the campaign motorcade ar-
rived, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.)
took the stage to label Obama and Biden
as candidates who understand what
Michigan is going through: "people work-
ing too hard, not making enough and pay-
ing too much."
"They understand that we're in a fight
for our way of life in Michigan and all
across the country," Stabenow said. "You
know when Joe Biden and Barack Obama
come here tonight, they're going to speak
as a group of folks - two folks that under-
stand what we're doing here, what has
happened to us."

DETROIT - In his first major campaign
swing since the Democratic National Con-
vention, Sen. Barack Obama had lines of
people zig-zagging through the streets of
Detroit as they waited to hear a raucous and
inspiring speech on economic and workers'
issues yesterday at the Detroit Labor Day
Instead, Obama told the more than 10,000
anxious fans packed into Detroit's water-
front Hart Plaza that "today is not the day
for political speeches" and asked them to
pray for the victims of Hurricane Gustav,
which made landfall on the Gulf Coast yes-
The Republicans suspended most of their
convention activities in St. Paul, Minn., Mon-
day when the hurricane struck. They later re-
sumed them.
Obama, who spoke for less than 10 min-
utes, initially planned to give a speech about
organized labor. But in the wake of the hur-
ricane, said "there is a time to argue politics
and there's a time to come together as Ameri-
After United Auto Workers President Ron
Gettelfinger asked the crowd to give Obama
a "Labor Day welcome,' the junior senator
from Illinois thanked local labor leaders for
the work they are doing, and proclaimed his
support for workers' rights.
"I'm a labor guy," Obama said to the delight
of the audience. "I believe in the labor move-
He later added, "I think it's important to
have a president who doesn't choke on the
word union."
But his focus once more shifted to the dark
skies facing those Americans on the Gulf
"Instead of a speech, whatI'd like to do is to
ask all of us to join in some silent prayer for all
those Americans who are spending this Labor
Day in a shelter waiting for another storm to
pass;' he said. "I want all of us to remember
that when we show solidarity with those folks
in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas and Ala-
bama, that we are expressing the true spirit of
the labor movement."
Obama, who officially accepted the Dem-

ocratic nomination on Thursday, told the
crowd that his campaign would be monitor-
ing the situation all day. His campaign later
canceled its scheduled stop in Milwaukee,
Wis., instead returning to his Chicago head-
"We are prayerful this will not be the same
kind of situation we saw three years ago,"
he said, referring to the slow emergency re-
sponse to Hurricane Katrina, which hit New
Orleans in 2005.
"My main goal today is to ask you to help"
Obama said.
His campaign also sent out email and text
messages yesterday to supporters asking
them to "givd whatever you can afford," even
as little as $5 or $10, "to make sure the Ameri-
can Red Cross has the resources to help those
in the path of this storm."
But Obama's speech was not without its
light moments. At one point the candidate
thanked singer Aretha Franklin for her sup-
port, before soulfully improvising his own ver-
sion of a Franklin classic by singing, "Change,
change, change, chain of fools."
Despite the shortened speech and the
change of theme, supporters appeared to still
be excited to see the Democratic nominee in
their home state.
After the speech ended, Rep. John Cony-
ers (D-Detroit) climbed up a metal barricade
and gave an impromptu speech to a group of
Obama supporters emphatically stating that
"on November 4th Michigan will follow Ohio
in supporting Obama for President of the
United States of America."
Lake Superior State student Joe Schiko=
ra said he thought Obama gave a good
speech, despite the somber tone set by the
hurricane in the Gulf Coast. With Hurri-
cane Gustav, "you know you can't talk poli-
tics, you have to bring everyone together,"
he said.
Southfield resident Janet Jackson, who is
running for Oakland County Commissioner,
said Obama is the right candidate for Michi-
gan residents on issues of labor policy.
"He will speak to the grassroot level of
people, the people who need jobs, he's going
to help create more jobs and help the labor
movement,"she said.
- The Associated Press contributed to this

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