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Obama campaign to use Toledo event to layout rescue plan
[October 13, 2008]

Obama campaign to use Toledo event to layout rescue plan

(Blade, The (Toledo, OH) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Oct. 13--Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama plans to use his

speech at today's rally at the SeaGate Convention Centre to unveil a major economic policy address.

Mr. Obama is staying with top advisors at the Maumee Bay State Park lodge in Oregon to prepare for a presidential debate with Republican nominee Senator John McCain on Wednesday in New York.

The Obama campaign announced that they will use his Toledo event to lay out

his 'economic rescue plan for the middle class.'

The campaign said that the economy is facing its greatest uncertainty in over 70 years, has lost 760,000 jobs this year, and has an unemployment rate that is expected to reach 8 percent. Mr. Obama's campaign said that family incomes declined by $2,000 between 2000 and 2007.

He will appear at the SeaGate Centre at 1:30 p.m. which will hold about 3,500 people, and no more tickets are available.

Mr. Obama arrived in Toledo yesterday for the start of three days of intensive preparation for Wednesday's final presidential debate, but he first made an unscheduled stop in a Springfield Township neighborhood to canvass for votes.

The candidate surprised residents of the working-class Lincoln Green neighborhood off McCord Road when his motorcade made the unannounced stop on the way in from Toledo Express Airport.

Wearing a white shirt, suit trousers, and no tie, Mr. Obama chatted, joked, hugged, posed, and debated for 45 minutes with the folks of Shrewsbury Street who came out of their homes to meet him.

Rachel Jesko, 28, a teacher, was dropping off her friend when she saw the motorcade in the neighborhood.

She started crying as he walked toward her, and then followed him up the street.

'I love him. I think he's going to bring the change we need,' Ms. Jesko said.

Tom Puhl, 63, a retired electrical designer, said he had made up his mind in favor of Senator Obama early. He said the neighborhood has a lot of empty, foreclosed homes.

'He came off completely gen-uine and that's what impresses me,' Mr. Puhl said.

Senator Obama also responded to a Page 1 Sunday letter to him from John Robinson Block, co-publisher and editor-in-chief of The Blade, asking the presidential candidate: 'Do all Americans who want to work have the right to a job where they live?'

Mr. Obama declined to give a simple yes or no answer, but in a written response and in an answer to the same question shouted at him, Mr. Obama appeared to agree in principle.

'I agree that everyone who is willing and able to work should be able to find a job that pays a living wage,' he said as he entered the lodge at Maumee Bay State Park, where he and some of his top advisers are to spend the next few days preparing for the televised debate.


Mr. Block's letter to Mr. Obama was based on an idea put to Congress by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his 1944 State of the Union address.

FDR proposed a 'Second Bill of Rights' that would ensure rights to a 'useful and remunerative job,' a decent home, security in one's old age, a good education, a farmer's right to earn enough to provide his family with a decent living, and a businessman's right to be protected from unfair competition at home and abroad.

The right to jobs

In his appeal to middle-class voters, especially since the onset of the current financial meltdown, Mr. Obama has focused on the right of people to have jobs. A standard line in his speech in recent weeks is, 'where I come from, there's nothing more fundamental than a job."

In the statement the Obama campaign released to The Blade, he said: 'President Roosevelt's leadership showed how Americans can overcome incredible challenges -- in peacetime and in wartime -- when we start believing in ourselves and each other again.'

He vowed to focus on bringing jobs back to Ohio and America, rebuilding and strengthening the middle class.

'Toledo is at the cutting edge of this effort, with some of the leading manufacturers of solar panels in the country, fueled by a strong research program at the University of Toledo,' he said.

Mr. Obama said America's promise includes access to a job that 'lets you live out your dreams for your family'; 'the guarantee of health care you can afford and education that helps your kids compete,' and 'if you serve in the uniform of this great country, you receive the care and benefits you deserve.'

He ended by saying Washington has responsibilities, corporations have responsibilities not just to the bottom line but to their workers, and citizens have a responsibility to themselves and each other.

Mr. Obama is spending time in Ohio in hopes of winning the state's 20 electoral votes in the election against Republican Sen. John McCain.

Polls show them in a statistical dead heat.

Mr. Obama will emerge from his debate preparations for at least one public event today and tomorrow in the area.

On Wednesday, he and Senator McCain will face off in their last televised debate of the campaign from Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.

Talk on the street

On the street in Springfield Township, Mr. Obama talked sports with several young men, discussed the price of gas and milk, described Congress's $700 billion economic rescue, and shook many hands. Obama chatted with Mike Klear, 36, a truck driver who hauls steel for automakers, and who told Mr. Obama he had been hard hit by skyrocketing gas prices.

Mr. Klear said he supported Hillary Clinton in her victory over Mr. Obama in the state's March 4 Democratic primary, but now he's backing Mr. Obama.

Mr. Obama's longest conversation was with a man who said afterward that he likes

Sarah Palin, the Republican nominee for vice president.

Joe Wurzelbacher, 34, a plumber, debated with Senator Obama about his tax plan.

'I'm being taxed more and more for fulfilling the American dream,' Mr. Wurzelbacher said.

Mr. Obama tried to convince him that his plans to give a tax cut to 95 percent of Americans and to raise taxes on those earning more than $250,000 would be good for the plumbing business by helping get the economy righted.

'Pretty good practice'

As Mr. Obama left, he said, 'I've got to go prepare for this debate, but that was pretty good practice.'

Another uncommitted voter, Mary Colledge, 64, told Mr. Obama she didn't plan to vote for him, but wanted to pray for him.

'No matter who gets in, they're going to need God's blessing,' Ms. Colledge said, who came away with his autograph.

Hannah Kovach, 19, a nursing student, wept as she told Mr. Obama she was nervous, and then described the loans she has taken to pay for her education.

'He told me he's working on a plan that's going to help not only me, but all students. It was just an overwhelming feeling.

'I had been watching him for months now. It was an emotional thing to actually meet him,' Ms. Kovach said.

U.S. Secret Service agents kept a close eye on Mr. Obama and kept their large, dark-colored GM SUVs moving along to keep close to Mr. Obama as he walked from house to house.

The community of ranch-style houses is home to the kind of voters who have been hardest hit by the long-running economic doldrums in Ohio, now expected to get worse because of the financial meltdown on Wall Street.

Mr. Obama has sought to connect with the voters who turned out strong for Mrs. Clinton.

The Obama campaign plane, with 'Change We Can Believe In' on the fuselage and the circular logo emblazoned on the tail, landed just before 3 p.m. at Toledo Express Airport.

On hand were Lucas County sheriff's deputies and Ohio state troopers, as well as campaign and airport staff, and media.

People lined State Rt. 2 in Oregon to wave at the passing motorcade. Hundreds of people filled the parking lot and the front canopy of the lodge in the state park to welcome Mr. Obama.

3rd stop this year

This is Mr. Obama's third stop in Toledo this year.

He spoke to a capacity crowd at the University of Toledo in February while campaigning in the state primary, and he spoke to a much smaller group at the Toledo main library downtown the weekend after winning the party's nomination in Denver.

Contact Tom Troy at: [email protected] or 419-724-6058.

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