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Archive for Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Speaking in Osawatomie, Obama sees ‘make or break’ time for middle class

President Barack Obama visits patrons at We B Smokin' bar-b-que on the outskirts of Osawatomie, Kansas, during his last trip to Kansas, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011.  Obama will be in Lawrence to visit Kansas University on Friday.

President Barack Obama visits patrons at We B Smokin' bar-b-que on the outskirts of Osawatomie, Kansas, during his last trip to Kansas, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011. Obama will be in Lawrence to visit Kansas University on Friday.

December 6, 2011, 3:17 p.m. Updated December 6, 2011, 5:27 p.m.

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President Barack Obama gestures while speaking about the economy, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011, at Osawatomie High School in Osawatomie, Kan.

President Barack Obama gestures while speaking about the economy, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011, at Osawatomie High School in Osawatomie, Kan.

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— Declaring the American middle class in jeopardy, President Barack Obama on Tuesday outlined a populist economic vision that will drive his re-election bid, insisting the United States must reclaim its standing as a country in which everyone can prosper if provided "a fair shot and a fair share."

While never making an overt plea for a second term, Obama's offered his most comprehensive lines of attack against the candidates seeking to take his job, only a month before Republican voters begin choosing a presidential nominee. He also sought to inject some of the long-overshadowed hope that energized his 2008 campaign, saying: "I believe America is on its way up."

In small-town Osawatomie, in a high school gym where patriotic bunting lined the bleachers, Obama presented himself as the one fighting for shared sacrifice and success against those who would gut government and let people fend for themselves. He did so knowing the nation is riven over the question of whether economic opportunity for all is evaporating.

"Throughout the country, it's sparked protests and political movements, from the tea party to the people who've been occupying the streets of New York and other cities," Obama said.

"This is the defining issue of our time," he said in echoing President Theodore Roosevelt's famous speech here in 1910.

"This is a make-or-break moment for the middle class and all those who are fighting to get into the middle class," Obama said. "At stake is whether this will be a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home and secure their retirement."

For Obama, saddled with a weak national economic recovery, the speech was a chance to break away from Washington's incremental battles and his own small-scale executive actions. He offered a sweeping indictment of economic inequality and unleashed his own brand of prairie populism.

He spoke for nearly an hour to a supportive audience, reselling his ideas under the framework of "building a nation where we're all better off."

Billed as an important address that would put today's economic debates in context, Obama's speech seemed a bit like two packaged into one.

The first was that of the campaigner, full of loft and reclamation of American values. The second was the governing Obama, who recited his familiar jobs agenda, his feud with Congress over extending a Social Security tax cut, even his fight to get his consumer watchdog confirmed.

Obama tied himself to Roosevelt, the president and reformer who came to this town in eastern Kansas and called for a "square deal" for regular Americans. Roosevelt said then the fight for progress was a conflict "between the men who possess more than they have earned and the men who have earned more than they possess."

It is a theme Obama is embracing in a mounting fight for re-election against Republicans who, regardless of the nominee, will attack his stewardship of the economy.

One of the leading contenders for the GOP nomination, Mitt Romney, ridiculed Obama for comparing himself to Roosevelt.

Obama "said that he is like Teddy Roosevelt," Romney said at a campaign event in Paradise Valley, Ariz. "And I thought, 'In what way is he like Teddy Roosevelt?' Teddy Roosevelt of course founded the Bull Moose Party. One of those words applies."

Kirsten Kukowski, spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, said, "Maybe instead of trying to be like other presidents, Obama should try being president."

Obama took aim at the Republicans, saying they would only return the same structures that led to America's economic downturn. "Their philosophy is simple: We are better off when everyone is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules," Obama said. "I'm here to say they are wrong."

The president conceded that the country is in the midst of a consuming re-examination on his watch, prompting national movements against both government spending and an economy that many feel disproportionately favors the elite. Obama went on the offensive about income equality, saying it distorts democracy and derails the American dream.

Responding to those who want to cut taxes and regulation in the belief success will trickle down, Obama said: "Here's the problem: It doesn't work. It's never worked."

Obama noted that Theodore Roosevelt was called a "radical, a socialist, even a communist" for putting forth ideas in his last campaign such as an eight-hour work day, a minimum wage for women, unemployment insurance and a progressive income tax.

Left unsaid: Roosevelt's Bull Moose campaign in 1912 failed to return him to the White House.

Obama attempted to sum up the pain and peril for a society where the middle class is struggling. But he also called for individual responsibility.

"In the end," he said, "rebuilding this economy based on fair play, a fair shot and a fair share will require all of us to see the stake we have in each other's success."

Obama also challenged he big banks that took bailouts from American taxpayers, pointing to "a deficit of trust between Main Street and Wall Street." He said banks that were bailed out had an obligation to work to close that trust deficit and should be doing more to help remedy past mortgage abuses and assist middle-class taxpayers.


Ben Feller contributed from Washington. AP writers Erica Werner and Kasie Hunt contributed to this report.

Comments

oldbaldguy 2 years, 4 months ago

they all had barbeque. i was there today, it is a great barbeque. the owner said the president took ribs back with him. this would have been an important specch three years ago. where has he been? i forgot taking money from wall street like the rest of them. teddy did not do that.

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William Weissbeck 2 years, 4 months ago

After a day and a half, LJW has buried this story in their web edition. Go ahead try to find it. Progressive change takes time. TR became president in 1900, but didn't start moving toward Progressive policies until later, especially after the Panic of 1906. His New Nationalism speech was in 1910 after he was out of office and clearly unhappy with Taft's policies. Wilson was elected in 1912 and put through a progressive platform - the income tax was passed, but this was cut short with WWI. We then endured 12 more years of government hands off from Harding, Coolidge thru Hoover, until the Progressive platform could be renewed in the New Deal. It takes time. TR proposed national healthcare in 1912. We still don't have that.

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James Minor 2 years, 4 months ago

The populace concept works alot better than survival of the fittest. The GOP only has to offer proposals that will definetly take us into a depression. Oh that's right the "Eye of Newt" has a better idea and all we have to do is elect him and then he will tell us what it is.

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George Lippencott 2 years, 4 months ago

I note a bunch of negative comments above. Perhaps they may have jumped to a conclusion that I have not yet reached. Nobody (except perhaps LO) can argue with a desire to make our society more just in the distribution of rewards. The issue is “How”!!!

There were few details in the speech. Raising taxes as so far proposed by the administration will have virtually no effect. Short term stimulus is at best a placebo. Just how do we redistribute wealth “justly”?

This theme is not new. Three years ago I bought into the populace rhetoric. I have seen almost no change leading to a more just society (except perhaps Obama Care and it levies the costs on all of us – not the rich). I accepted the trust me card once. I will not accept it again.

Perhaps I have missed all the proposals to achieve the desired more just society. Can some of you fill me in? Or are there no such proposals?

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observant 2 years, 4 months ago

Excuse double post, simple math error. But I at least passed basic math unlike some. I understand how to add 1 + 1 and have answer of 2.

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its_just_math 2 years, 4 months ago

I don't think there are as many Obama supporters as there are Obama groupies. Certainly to sincerely endorse his leadership and the general tenor and effectiveness of his presidency would make one seem more of a committed zealot and sort of cult-like. To say he is even adequate is a stretch.

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beaujackson 2 years, 4 months ago

Yes, I did misspell Obama. Correct spelling: Muslim traitor.

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tange 2 years, 4 months ago

"In the end," he said, "rebuilding this economy based on fair play, a fair shot and a fair share will require all of us to see the stake we have in each other's success."

There you have it. Here we are. What are we going to do with us?

The competing (lack of) perspective, of course is: What am I going to do for me.

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ssteve1 2 years, 4 months ago

I was little dissapointed in the speech. What we really need is a candidate with a "hope and change" message.

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Scut Farkus 2 years, 4 months ago

I love reading these posts. Some are thought provoking and some just make me laugh. As an Independent, who voted for Bush twice (the second time may have been a mistake, but I like second term President's), I think Obama has taken the right approach if he wants to be re-elected. The Republicans have not offered anything up to help the economic situation and continue to rely on government downsizing as the only alternative. Also, none of the Republican nominees are stepping up as viable candidates. Gingrich might make a decent run, but he has a lot of baggage.

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blabber 2 years, 4 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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beaujackson 2 years, 4 months ago

Lots of Obmama stickers have been scraped off bumpers.

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Liberty_One 2 years, 4 months ago

"and let people fend for themselves."

This is the problem with Obama--he thinks that in the absence of an overpowering government, we must all hate each other and wish to gain at someone else's expense. Free market capitalism is the greatest system ever devised for mutual cooperation and mutual success. The division of labor is what allows for our high standard of living--one person specializes in one line of production while another specializes in a different line of production and then we all trade. Free trade, the division of labor, the profit motive, property rights, contract rights--these are what make us wealthier and our lives more prosperous, not the confiscation and redistribution of wealth.

Government intrusion into the market is an interference with people's cooperating together for mutual gain. Government intrusion and confiscation of wealth is what leads to people fending for themselves and trying to live off of others. It's the war of all against all whereas a free market is the uncoerced cooperation of man for the common benefit.

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sunny 2 years, 4 months ago

Maybe Barry Hussein will follow Blago!

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Flap Doodle 2 years, 4 months ago

Another former best buddy of Barry is going to prison. Blago got 14 years. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

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rockchalk1977 2 years, 4 months ago

MICHAEL MOORE, ON CNN: Well, "The Washington post" three weeks ago had this investigation and they said that President Obama has now raised more money from Wall Street and the banks for this election cycle than all -- than all eight Republicans combined. I don't want to say that, because if that's the truth, that Wall Street already has their man and his name is Barack Obama, then we've got a much bigger problem.

But I think President Obama, if he were here in the room, the question I would ask him is why are they your number one contributors? Why are you taking this money?

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/12/07/moore_wall_street_already_has_their_man_and_his_name_is_barack_obama.html

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beatrice 2 years, 4 months ago

I'll bet he never said "Corporations are people," or call to put children to work as janitors.

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yourworstnightmare 2 years, 4 months ago

Finally, a politician speaking on Kansas soil who makes sense, supports the middle class, and asks all to pay their fair share.

If only for an hour.

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Matthew Herbert 2 years, 4 months ago

my favorite part of the speech was when Obama said "It's good to be back in Texas". Yoinks.

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Fossick 2 years, 4 months ago

Washington Post awards the speech Three Pinocchios: "To bolster his case about unfairness, the president is also relying on a suspect statistic about billionaires paying as little as 1 percent in taxes. Even if true, it is a clearly a rare event. Moreover, it is certainly surprising that the White House would rely on such a dubious, unverified source for a major presidential address. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/obamas-kansas-speech-some-suspect-facts/2011/12/06/gIQAUU45aO_blog.html?hpid=z1

Bloody right wing media...

The Post itself gets the fourth Pinocchio for trying to spin this campaign speech as a "major presidential address."

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trinity 2 years, 4 months ago

Prez should come back&eat We B Smokin' for breakfast some time; for-real fresh squeezed OJ but ya gotta get there before they run out of oranges, lol. Some of THE very best grub around!!! And plus it is fun to have your meal&watch the planes come&go on a nice day. :)

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Oldsoul 2 years, 4 months ago

"It's great to be back in Texas." The comparison is not too flattering, and unfortunately in many ways it's probably an easy mistake to make.

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Antonym 2 years, 4 months ago

Obama is the greatest president this country has ever seen. Within days I expect to be middle class and have my own house. Then I'm gonna go buy bunches of stuff and stimulate the economy like crazy.

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Lateralis 2 years, 4 months ago

Less urinal more world....The LJ World has been seriously lacking in the world part.

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William Weissbeck 2 years, 4 months ago

I too am mystified by the LJW coverage. If you move off of the front page to Kansas Government, this story doesn't even show. And I realize that KU BB is sacred, but I'm not sure a pic of Teahan merits top coverage over a visiting president - even if it was Attila the Hun.

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kansanjayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

It is Mr. Obama's policies that have made matters much worse for the middle class. How can manufacturing come back to America when Mr. Obama places a myriad of regulations and roadblocks? He attacks coal fire power plants and raises our electric rates unnecessarily and destroys any hope of economic development and growth. We cannot create jobs when our big-government will not allow it!

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sunny 2 years, 4 months ago

I wouldn't walk across the street to listen to this man!

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Lateralis 2 years, 4 months ago

Make or break for the middle class? Perhaps the President should have explained his support for TARP and how that helped out the middle class....oh wait. Or maybe how he threatened to veto any attempt by congress to restrict the dispersal of additional TARP funds. Repubs and Dems are on the corporate welfare train....all aboard.

Stimulus = Fail

Government does not create jobs for the middle class.

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Lawrence Morgan 2 years, 4 months ago

And one more comment: there must be good editorials throughout the state. Why can't there be a special section in the Journal World for editorials and columns from other Kansas papers?

Check, for example, the following:

http://www.fstribune.com/story/1791872.html

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Lawrence Morgan 2 years, 4 months ago

And I have one other comment. Why doesn't the Journal-World, in a separate section, carry speeches like this? People would find it easy to go to the speech and read it, and then form their own opinions.

It shouldn't be necessary to indicate where to find the speech. One possibility, for example, is:

http://thepage.time.com/2011/12/06/president-obamas-remarks-in-osawatomie-kansas/

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overthemoon 2 years, 4 months ago

FACT: The Democrats N E V E R had full control of the Senate. Between several empty seats, 2 independents, and 4-5 blue dog dems, there was N E V E R a filibuster proof Senate. And the Republicans followed their leader, Grover Norquist, in making it impossible for a democrat to govern. Obama tried, and the GOP chose to play for party ideology over the good for the country.

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tange 2 years, 4 months ago

So, what exactly is Little Debbie's fixation on Big Daddy?

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kansasplains 2 years, 4 months ago

The Journal-World really failed this time. Apparently they failed to send a reporter and photographer to report on this event. It's a real shame, because Google News just had top coverage (it was the first thing on their web page), and the third down after the New York Times and Wall Street Journal was the University Daily Kansan!

That's not to say that I don't support the Journal-World. Their staff does some incredible stories, and they are right on top of so many things. But on this one, had they been there, it would have been such a great story, with great pictures.

Instead, it is just a small AP story. It is very unfortunate, and I hope the Journal-World staff does some serious thinking about what has happened.

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coleja 2 years, 4 months ago

All the Obama haters need to quit running their mouths about things that they do not know about. While you all steady talking bout what he hasn't done you need to realize what he's done and tried to do. He doesn't want to take away from the rich he wants the rich to contribute. When I work I pay taxes. Period. Obama wants to help the middle class not just bail us out for the time being. As much as people want to complain about what is not being done realize that the reason things aren't getting done is because of Congress not because of Obama. Politics 101 people: any type of legislation the President wants to pass has to be approved by Congress FIRST. You want change I suggest electing new Senators and Reps because they hold the real power in this country. Bush was in office for 8 long years. How he got re-elected I do not know but for every year he was in office this country sunk deeper and deeper into the hole it's in now. You expect Obama to fix it in 3 years? Give me a break. Obama gave a great speech and he deserves some credit for even stepping into the hole with a shovel trying to dig us out of this mess. Even if the man didn't succeed in 100% of the way he doesn't deserve to be bashed, bad mouthed, or even straight disrespected.

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Maxandwillie 2 years, 4 months ago

In a system of checks and balances the President is neither responsible for all the good or all the bad things that happen in our country. The role of Congress and compromise play a role in all decisions. Thus both sides of the aisle need to stop pointing the figure at each other and start doing the work that needs to be done.

Obama's speech today was crazy. He was asking the mega rich to pay more to help those who do the work making them rich. Crazy radical!

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autie 2 years, 4 months ago

Antonym, your space heater dilemma is because of all the jobs created by the Bush tax cuts that was going to create jobs...it created jobs alright. In China; India; Viet Nam; Malaysia...places like that. It take it that guys like you and Shewmon, Tom don't exactly listen to what he says. Riddle me this boys, why do so many educated middle class hard working Kansans support someone like Brownback when all his policies are designed to favor the big business corporate top dogs at the expense of their sweat? That may have been the point of the speech to some degree. You know Shewmon, all those people you bitch about might want to really work...if there was a job they could do or get to.....the big broad brush some of you like to paint with is getting rather dry on the edges.

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lawrenceguy40 2 years, 4 months ago

More class warfare from this fool. He will not be happy until everyone is equally poor and all bums are handed everything they need. Want to work hard in barry o's America? Sure you can do it, but be warned the liberals will rob you of anything you make and give it to the career idle.

Pathetic.

335

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Antonym 2 years, 4 months ago

I went looking for a space heater yesterday. Couldn't find any that weren't made in China.

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blue73harley 2 years, 4 months ago

The only jobs Obama has helped create are those in China and elsewhere overseas.

http://www.snopes.com/politics/business/ge.asp

Exactly what middle class is he concerned about?

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FalseHopeNoChange 2 years, 4 months ago

I am impressed with Big Daddy's ability to channel Reagan one week and channel Roosevelt the next.

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Antonym 2 years, 4 months ago

My neighbor sits on her front porch and waves at me when I get home from work. She collects unemployment and just bought a new SUV. Looks like she will get a new one again next year.

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Richard Payton 2 years, 4 months ago

Senator Mitch McConnell doesn't want to extend the tax holiday. McConnell is like a parasite on the middle class.

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tange 2 years, 4 months ago

/ gee, I wish I could come up with a vapid comment, thereby gaining the recognition and approval of the right guys

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consumer1 2 years, 4 months ago

This certainly explains why Lawrence seemed to be a ghost town today. All the left wingers are hoping to get a look at their hero.

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consumer1 2 years, 4 months ago

This certainly explains why Lawrence seemed to be a ghost town today. All the left wingers are hoping to get a look at their hero.

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My_Life 2 years, 4 months ago

Obama is Jesus come back to save us all.

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Kansass 2 years, 4 months ago

Good speech. It was like watching a blue dog come into a red yard and lift his leg.

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its_just_math 2 years, 4 months ago

Rhetoric to be expected from this joke.

Summary: government is here to save you because you are too pathetic and stupid to save yourselves, proclaims Obama. Obama--the constitutional scholar is so smart. Well heck, we've seen how wonderful his past three years of economic booster shots have worked. Problem is, too many dummies nowadays don't really comprehend what Obama considers "middle-class". Talk about fear-mongering....how can the uncorked left ever again accuse the GOP of fearmongering after reading crapola like this.

Need Pepcid ASAP!

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ksjayhawk74 2 years, 4 months ago

Hateful, ignorant, ill-informed comments from people who didn't watch the speech or read the article in 3, 2, 1...

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Antonym 2 years, 4 months ago

Everyone is entitled to everything. Pretty much sums it up.

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hitme 2 years, 4 months ago

Osawatomie is a very appropriate place for Obama.

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BrooksideJayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Didn't the J-W send a reporter? A photographer?

Enlighten your readers.

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