Spartanburg Herald-Journal - Obama Hits Campaign Issues In Spartanburg Visit
By Jim Davenport
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Friday that fathers have to share the responsibility for raising children and caring for families because their role doesn't end at conception.
Days before Father's Day, the first-term Illinois senator and father of two daughters delivered his life message as well as an assessment of what government needs to do in remarks at a Baptist church.
"It's about to be Father's Day," he said. "Let's admit to ourselves that there are a lot of men out there that need to stop acting liking boys; who need to realize that responsibility does not end at conception; who need to know that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child but the courage to raise a child."
He recalled his own upbringing as the son of a Kenyan father and a mother from Kansas. Obama said he grew up with a father he know only through letters and stories told by his mothers and the relatives who raised him.
He bemoaned the nation's economic divide.
Changes in the way we "work and live have trapped too many American families between an economy that's gone global and government that's gone AWOL. Too many rungs have been removed from the ladder to middle-class security and the safety net that's supposed to break any fall from that ladder has grown badly frayed," Obama said.
The Illinois senator said he would invest $50 million in programs to help people find transitional jobs and get training for permanent employment. That is needed, he said, to help men _ especially black men _ find work to replace hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs they've lost in the last six years.
"Without a job or an education, many black men simply cannot afford to raise a family _ and too many have made the sad choice not to," he said.
He said he would push to expand the federal earned income tax credit and the minimum hourly wages should be linked to the rate of inflation.
Later in the day, Obama told a crowd in Greenville that government needs to encourage "a politics that's based on hope."
"We've got a government that says, pull yourself up by your own bootstraps _ you're on your own," he said. "You're not on your own."
He also spoke on a series of other issues, including the needs to increase teacher pay, produce more fuel-efficient cars, and end the war in Iraq.
"We have to make sure, as difficult as it is, we bring this war to a close," he said. "There will be no military solution to the war in Iraq."