The Elkhart Truth - Obama Talks About Reviving Economy
Sen. Barack Obama outlined his energy and economic policy in response to an audience question about tough economic times in the Elkhart area.
In the short-term, Obama said an additional round of economic stimulus checks are needed. He also said the government should invest in "fast-track" infrastructure, including roads, schools, sewer lines and bridges.
"That would put people back to work right away," Obama said. "But it would also spur on economic activity for people who supply contractors.
In the long-term, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee said the country needs an entirely new economic engine. That includes investing in development of electric and hybrid cars, as well as wind turbines and solar panels.
That plan would create 5 million American jobs and work towards solving American's energy crisis, he said.
Obama also addressed the need for education and health care reform, but said he remains realistic about how much can be changed right away.
"We're not going to be able to do all these things at once," he said, "but if we get started on each of these tracks now, then 20 years from now we can look back and say, 'We put America on the right track.'"
Other Obama notes:
* On what he hopes to accomplish in his first 1,000 days in office: "I've got all kinds of plans, but if in those first three years, we have a serious energy policy, we've fixed our health care system and we've got our troops out of Iraq, I think that'd be pretty good work."
* The Illinois Senator advocated for a responsible troop withdrawal from Iraq. Doing so, he said, would allow America to regroup its military and refocus on Afghanistan and hunting al Qaeda.
* Obama said that, if elected, his attorney general would review every executive order signed by President George W. Bush to see if he they were constitutional.
* Obama said America needs to recapture the hope that pulled it out of the Great Depression.
"There was this sense of possibility even in the face of hardship and the face of struggle," he said. "I think we've go to rediscover this kind of spirit."
* On talking about 'hope' too much: "I get criticized by the press: 'Oh, he's talking about hope again.' There's this sense that if you're talking about our aspirations, then you're naive. ... There are cynics who say we can't fix Washington, but they're the same ones who said we couldn't win the Democratic nomination."
But, he said, in order for people to dream, concrete steps must be taken. That means retooling American education and further investing in infrastructure, he said.