Man With Hope Is Back
She said, of Bill Clinton: â€œWe Blacks supported him. How dare he make that comment. Heâ€™s supporting his wife but thereâ€™s a right way to do it.â€?
The man with Hope is back.
If anyone detected some diminished electricity on the podium last night when Senator Barack Obama finished a close second to Hillary Clinton in the New Hampshire primaries, the spark returned today.
Senator Obama was back to his powerful and rousing style of presentation this afternoon when he addressed supporters at an overflowing gymnasium at St. Peter’s College, in Jersey City, New Jersey; more than 2,000 people could not get in.
“All across America people are shouting out loud, ‘The time for change has come,” Senator Obama declared.
Obama said he was gratified that other candidates are now preaching the gospel of “change.” He said he was best placed to deliver on the promise since he was the first candidate to make it his campaign theme.
Obama promised a peace dividend; to use the money that would be saved by ending the costly Iraq war, estimated at $10 billion a month, by investing billions in urban areas such as Jersey City and creating new jobs. He promised affordable healthcare insurance for all, that would be of comparable quality to those of members of Congress.
The candidate said he would end business as usual in Washington, by stopping lobbyists from setting the nation’s agenda. There would also be no more tax breaks to companies that outsource American jobs, he said.
Young people, a good portion of the thousands who came to hear Obama this evening, were rewarded: the candidate proposed a $4,000 college tuition credit for all students who would pay back the country by contributing their time to programs such as the peace corpse or even working at homeless shelters. Creating more jobs would keep young people off the streets and prevent them from ending up in prison, he said.
He would let the United Nations know the U.S. "is back," he said. Obama promised to go after Al Qaeda by "finishing the job" in Afghanistan. He would use military muscle against those that would harm this country or threaten it's security. Yet, he wouldn't rely only on military might, but would also engage the world in diplomacy and help diminish global poverty and suffering by building schools in developing countries and combating the HIV/Aids pandemic and genocide in places such as Darfur, Obama said.
Senator Obama noted that his campaign has energized the electorate, bringing in record numbers of voters. In New Hampshire, more than 500,000 voters turned out, which was more than 50% of the electorate, up from 44% in 2004. Clinton, whose campaign was on the ropes, won narrowly by 39% to 37%.
His campaign offers hope rather than tearing down his political opponents, Obama said, a clear reference to candidate Hillary Clinton.
“He is definitely the next president,” said, Dianne Jordan, an x-ray specialist, who was waiting in line to get in.
Jordan criticized former president Bill Clinton, whom she said had ridiculed Obama’s presidential bid as a “fairy tale.” She said, of Clinton: “We Blacks supported him. How dare he make that comment. He’s supporting his wife but there’s a right way to do it.”
She added that Senator Clinton had hurt her own chances in the long run, by almost tearing up in response to a question just before the New Hampshire vote, as many voters would perceive her as being unfit to be the nation’s commander in chief.
Maryanne Pastino, who is white, reacted angrily to Senator Clinton's assertions that Obama isn't experienced enough. "It's a bunch of bull," she said. "I'm a feminist but I don't like Hillary."
Neptune Middle School ninth-grader, Cleteis Davis, 13, knows she’ll have to wait awhile before she can vote but wanted to see the man that has inspired her so much. “He stands for change that the world needs a lot. And we need a first Black president anyway,” she said.
[More To Come]