Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama stopped by Jackson last Friday for a public appearance at Farish Street restaurant Peaches and a fund-raising event at the TelCom Center.
At Peaches, Obama shook hands, ordered fried chicken and introduced himself to Mississippi voters before heading to a fund raiser at the TelCom Center.
The Illinois senator, who identified himself as a "congenial optimist," told the TelCom Center crowd that he believes there are no current problems in our nation that can't be solved with hard work. He also echoed many Americans' sentiments about the importance of the upcoming presidential election. He joked that the support came "not because I'm so fabulous, but because America needs change."
During his speech, Obama urged Americans to consider the immensity of this election's stakes. "We're in a situation where we could leave our children with a poorer and meaner America than before," he said. "That's why people are coming out."
Throughout, he referred to a number of his plans, such as removing troops from Iraq and implementing universal health care.
Obama opposed the Iraq War from the beginning but said he wished he'd been wrong in his predictions for the outcome.
"We are funding both sides of the war on terrorism," he said. "It's time for us to start bringing troops out. … We have to be as careful getting out as we were careless getting in." This statement elicited a loud round of applause from the audience.
Obama's plan for Iraq includes a time frame for phased withdrawal of U.S. troops and engaging the international community to become more involved in Iraq.
The presidential candidate said he was "strongly committed" to universal health care, and his Web site boasts a plan that will purportedly save a typical American family up to $2,500 per year on premiums.
During the final minutes of the reception, Obama asked for questions from the audience, one of which concerned his proposed policies for the South. "My policy strategy in the South consists of three things," Obama said. "One is investing in early childhood education. Too many kids are already behind on the first day of school. Number two is revamping infrastructure by implementing broadband lines and wireless (Internet). This is a terrific strategy for inner cities. Last is to pay people more when they work."
Responding to a question about Democrats and religion, Obama said he believes the two can work together. "I think it would be a strategic mistake to abandon the field of faith," he asserted. "But you can't make arguments based on just one faith. ... Also, it's necessary to maintain the separation of church and state, even if just to maintain the independence of the church."
As for the issues of gay marriage and abortion, Obama said Americans may not be able to come to agreement on some issues. "But I never understood why a couple of lines in Romans are more important than the Sermon on the Mount," he said of gay marriage.
After the speech and the hand-shaking were over, the room seemed to resound with Obama's call for Americans to imagine the world not as it is but as it can be.
"That's how we gave women and blacks the right to vote, got out of Vietnam and sent a man to the moon," Obama said.
Kate Royals, Thanks for the story. I thought that there was absolutely no news coverage for Obama's visit. I still think that the visit could have been more voter friendly. After all, we are one of the poorest States in the Nation so having alittle financial compassion would have been great.
We could have had more people for a lesser charge. Hopefully the Dems. will learn from this history.
It sounds as if Obama had a wonderful message and your account was easy, thought provoking reading.
The Illinois senator, who identified himself as a “congenital optimist,” told the TelCom Center crowd that he believes there are no current problems in our nation that can’t be solved with hard work.
Congenital optimist? Is he saying that he was born with a smile on his face? :-D
I suspect it's "congenial," and we made a typo. (We're short an editor with Natalie in Chicago.) So I just fixed it above. Thanks, L.W. ;-)
No problem. Happy to help.
sounds like good stuff - hope he comes back down here.