Sunday, November 2, 2008

Obama in Cleveland

Barack Obama spoke to tens of thousands of people at Cleveland's downtown Mall this evening, from supporters who waited all afternoon to get close to the stage to football fans who stopped by after the Browns game.

Obama led with the economy. "The last things we can afford is four more years of the same old tired theories," he argued, "when no one in Washington is minding the store, so Wall Street goes crazy, and lobbyists block [needed] regulations." He acknowledged John McCain's break with George W. Bush on the issue of torture, but claimed that where the economy is concerned, "He hasn't been a maverick; he's been a sidekick."

Defending his tax plan, Obama took a shot at McCain's alliance with "Joe the Plumber" on the issue. He said, "99.9 percent of plumbers make less than $250,000 a year," which means their taxes would be cut, not raised, under Obama's proposal. "This is what they [Republicans] do in every election," he claimed. "They use ordinary people and make them afraid, so they can protect the fat cats."

Obama claimed his plan to stimulate the economy by spending federal money on infrastructure -- roads, bridges, rail, fiber optic networks -- would create 2 million jobs. He proposed spending $15 billion a year on renewable energy, which he claimed would lead to 5 million jobs (indirectly, he must mean, since that'd be $12,000 per job over four years).

He sounded like a New Democrat, a centrist in the Bill Clinton mode, when he pitched his program as a third way between old, false choices. "It's not about big government versus small government. That's the old way of thinking. We need a better government, a more honest government, a competent government." On Iraq, "We don't have to choose between retreating from the world and fighting a war without end."

He cracked some jokes at Dick Cheney's expense. "Yesterday, Dick Cheney came out of his undisclosed location. He hit the campaign trail, and said he is delighted to support John McCain." Not only did he use Cheney's endorsement to assert that McCain would continue Bush Administration policies, he got to play off the vice-president's dour public image -- he said it was "interesting to picture Dick Cheney being delighted."

Rain started to fall. Obama ad-libbed. "A little rain never hurt anybody. Sunshine is on the way. We've only got two more days of these clouds."

Update: The PD has a video of highlights from the rally.

1 comment:

tori said...

The other best quip of the night: when Obama was in the Cheney part of his speech and it started raining. Obama looked to the sky and said, "Huh. Look at that. See what happens when you start talking about Dick Cheney?" Classic! Good to see he still has his sense of humor intact!