August 5th, 2009
09:35 AM ET
5 years ago

President Obama heads back to familiar city

President Obama takes a question at a town hall in Elkhart, Indiana, earlier this year.
President Obama takes a question at a town hall in Elkhart, Indiana, earlier this year.

(CNN) – President Barack Obama heads back to a familiar place today: Elkhart, Indiana. Today's visit by the president will be the fourth time in the past 15 months that Obama's appeared in the northern Indiana city, known as the RV capital of the world.

On May 4, 2008, then-Sen. Obama of Illinois made a short stop in Elkhart, just days before the Indiana primary. At the time, Obama was in a fierce fight with Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination. Obama's campaign bus pulled up to Riverview Elementary School. He stepped out, shook hands, signed autographs and then played a quick game of basketball.

Days later, Obama narrowly lost Indiana's Democratic presidential primary to Clinton.

Obama returned to Elkhart on August 6. Hillary Clinton had dropped out of the race two months earlier, and Obama was in the heat of a general election battle with Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona. Joining Obama was Indiana's popular Democratic senator, Evan Bayh.

Obama took aim at his opponent. "John McCain started running a TV ad yesterday saying that Washington is broken. No kidding. It's taken him 26 years in Washington to figure that out. But here's the thing, Elkhart: I have trouble squaring that statement with Sen. McCain that Washington is broken and that politicians have failed."

Come November 4, Barack Obama narrowly won Indiana, becoming the first Democrat to take the state in a presidential election since 1964.

Fast forward to February 9 of this year, with President Obama in a battle to win passage of his economic stimulus package. He took his fight to an Elkhart town hall. "Now is the time to act," he said. "That's why I'm calling on Congress to pass this bill immediately. Folks here in Elkhart and all across America need help right now. They can't afford to keep waiting for folks in Washington to get this done."

The president came close to Elkhart in May, when he gave the commencement address at Notre Dame in nearby South Bend, Indiana.

Now he's back in a town suffering from the economic recession, with an unemployment rate nearing 20 percent - a point addressed Tuesday by the White House.

"Obviously the people in Elkhart know firsthand... the type of economic devastation that this country has seen over the past many, many months," said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

The Republican National Committee hit back hours before the president's Wednesday event. "As Obama Visits Elkhart, Indiana For 4th Time In 15 Months, Citizens There Realize Promises Made Are Promises Broken," they said in a memo sent to reporters.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. FORMER republican, NEVER again!

    We have never seen a President work so hard for the people as President Obama has. I thank him for attempting to fix this madness that the rethuglicans left him. The rethuglicans have nothing to offer except opposition, they don't care about you or I. They had 8 long years to reform health care, what did they do???

    August 5, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  2. southerncousin

    Elkhart is the union dream city, the drove the businesses in to bankruptcy and are now looking for the government dole. Makes sense that dear leader will visit them and give them money so they can drive more businesses out of existance. It is the obamatron way.

    August 5, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  3. LIP

    The camper business went into the tank when the gas priices went through the roof and these gas guzzling behemouths left the road.
    This is truly a confusing situation that Obama has thrust himself into. He wants us to think green and reduce emissions and use less gas and he is in Elkhart supporting the possible growth of this industry, which is only beginning to grow again due to the lower gas prices.
    Tell me how this will help increase gas mileage, please.

    August 5, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  4. Fair is Fair

    And the non-stop Obama campaign continues.

    August 5, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  5. Kilchis

    I only hope that he's not shouted down by a bunch of ignorant,I-got-mine,brown-shirted hyenas.

    August 5, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  6. Don't Get Played

    Please tell me, this is not the Republic party that has the lock on patriotism, moral values, that coined the term define “people like us”, that run our country into bankruptcies, that has no solutions on whining, complaints, quick to say it’s not going to work and support the statement with lies and misleading information. Well, the Republicans must be taking advantage of the story about the state of education in America, they believe we are all dump bubbas. There tactics are so obvious our foreign enemies can see them and use them against us. For those the believe the Republican bull, I challenge you to not be so gullible, you are getting played by the Republicans. All they want is the power, they do not care about nothing else, including what's best for our country.

    August 5, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  7. DiBiase/Bad Newz, VA

    At least they're unemployment numbers have gone down slightly.

    August 5, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  8. Sam Sixpack

    Maybe he will explain why all the stimulus checks were written to fat, greedy, rich people or maybe he will just smash all their cars to save the environment.

    GWB looks better every day.

    August 5, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  9. George Austin

    Just think, all this time I thought Mexicans were illegally entering into the United States, it never occurred to me that they had "mistakenly or inadvertently," crossed the border. American arrogance abounds, no wonder we are loved by so many in the world.

    August 5, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  10. Hugo

    I bet they are sooo glad to see their friend ! Maybe he can establish a "Cash for RV's" program and the taxpayer can all buy back the Katrina trailers from the people they were given to in New Orleans.

    August 5, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  11. phoenix86

    Last time Obama visited Elkhart, 2 million people more people were employed than they are today.

    Elkhart continues to enjoy economic devastation, courtesy of Obama.

    August 5, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  12. Ryan Indy

    OBAMA we dont want to hear your lies here in Indiana. We are having buyers remorse here in the Hoosier state.

    August 5, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  13. Carmen, Miami FL

    Meanwhile Republicans aren't making any sort of promise. I'd be hard pressed to name anything they've done or attempted to do to help get through the economic crisis. Why is anyone paying attention to them?

    Let them spout their talking points and rail against having to pay any taxes at all while the grown ups try to get things done.

    August 5, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  14. Kenyan Wonder Kid

    Failing miserably in his job as commander-in-chief, Obama must now return to his Chicago-style campaign mode. More lies, deception and strong-arm tactics to come.

    We look to the day when we can get wise, competent and experienced adults back in charge...

    August 5, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  15. Expat American

    I spent some time in ‘The Midwest’ while completing my graduate studies. There I met people whose biographies, politics, and cultural background couldn't have been more different than my own. While I was prepared for the unfortunate likelihood of conflict resulting from this, I was proven wrong. Many were accepting of the differences between us as I was. I learned that whatever party ideology you believe in, it's important not to judge a book by its cover. We all want to find success in our lives and take care of our loved ones.

    August 5, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  16. LacrosseMom

    Thank you, President Obama, for continuing to bring your case for healthcare reform to the PEOPLE of our Nation!

    We need to inform Americans.

    Americans need to turn off their TV's and do some of their own thinking and research.

    STOP the GOP LIES!

    August 5, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  17. Kevin in Ohio

    I doubt the people of Elkhart will be fooled for much longer.

    August 5, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  18. JDM

    I am a Dem. And I can do without another speech. This townhall thing has ran out of stream with me. If he still trying to bring Reps over to his side, this is not going to happen so stop trying. He is burning me out with this need to get along with Rep and the Bluedogs Dem.

    I did not care for Bush II, but I like his stye about leading.
    "NO MATTER WHAT YOU THINK OF ME , I AM STILL YOUR Pres AND I AM GOING TO GET WHAT I WANT". I AM STARTING TO MISS THAT IN THE MOST POWERFUL POSITION ON EARTH. US Pres.

    August 5, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  19. Simmy

    President Obama........Stand your ground......Don't give in to GOP/Big Insurance Gangsters' pressure......Stick with the little people....They're the ones that got you where you are......This will not be another 'Clinton Moment'......It's time for change, and change is coming to our healthcare system this year......Stay encouraged.....Your true supporters are still praying for your success.....I'm so proud of you....Thanks for the freedom of the TWO......God bless......

    August 5, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  20. deb0155

    Who cares?

    August 5, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  21. Rich

    The GOP created a massive disaster and it is going to take time to fix.

    August 5, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  22. dominican mama 4 Obama

    He's visited them 4 times int he past 15 months. He's telling them that he has not forgotten them. He is not "hiding his face" from them. The fact that he is the first Dem. in 45 years to take the state of Indiana, I think makes him feel doubly responsible for ensuring that this town, and many towns like it, bounce back.

    Can someone please explain the hesitancy, obstinancy of some states in using their stimulus money? Wasn't the intent of this money that it be put to use to stimulate the economy of individual states, and thus, as a whole, the countriys' economy?

    August 5, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  23. PeterJ

    Keep campaigning barack...it's the ONLY thing you are good at.

    August 5, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  24. Abe

    Things just get so much better in Elkhart, Indiana as Obama continues use our city as a poster child for change over the last year. This is not the change I voted for and never thought almost one out of five people would be unemployed.

    August 5, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  25. Enough

    Obama needs to venture out and hold town hall meetings with people who oppose his plans, not fake meetings with union workers.

    August 5, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
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