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. Sam Sixpack

    It's beginning to look like the spin doctors are going to trash most of today's comments - again...

    August 5, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  2. jeremy.....Dallas...Texas

    Yes this is what Obama has done and is trying to do for Elkhart in the 6months since he took over. What did republicans do in their 8yrs of power ? God bless USA........never republican again.

    August 5, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  3. barbara

    "Clearly" this President doesnt know how to do it right the first time. he has to go back becasue he didnt do it right the first time he was there and if he were so "clear" in everything that he says then why does he have to keep repeating himself? are we the stupid ones because we didnt hear him correctly the first time? or is he the stupid one for talking nonsense and expecting us to understand it?

    August 5, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  4. Sam Sixpack

    Suppose he'll tell them that, if they do ever get jobs again, their taxes are going up?

    Obahahahahahaha......

    August 5, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  5. Keith in Austin

    Stand up Elkhart and let Obama hear your voices!!!

    August 5, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  6. Julia Bolivier

    Go get him, TEA partiers!

    August 5, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  7. Deep Throat

    He needs to go somewhere where his people is at. They are the only ones who believe in him. But that's not saying much, is it?

    August 5, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  8. Stacy from Leesburg, VA

    President Obama is fighting for the common American, despite what the so-called birther-teabagger-nom de jour right wingers want to put in their talking points today. No matter the Jerry Springer-esque shouting at town halls meant to provide constituents with information to make an informed decision, the voice of the people will be heard. Let’s have the committees work on their compromise bill first, then we can discuss the particulars. But trying to snuff discussion makes you look goofy.

    August 5, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  9. Susie

    I thought this man got a job!!!! Doesn't he know how to find his OFFICE????

    August 5, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  10. Right Leaning Independent

    Going to a high unemployment area to rally folks to get behind his health care program. Try going to Texas where unemployment is much lower and watch the reception from tax payers.....

    August 5, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  11. jane

    Elkart is not the only poster child for the devastation to the economy the Bush administration caused. Other counties and cities all across the country need to receive particular support from President Obama.

    August 5, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  12. carlo

    If it were Bush, the attendees would be screened first to test their loyalty to Bush. Pres. Obama allows everyone in, and yet still they are disrespectful. Secret Service says that Pres. Obama receives 400 times more death threats than Bush, yet everyone wants to say that it isn't racial. Yeah, right.

    August 5, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  13. D. Tree

    The GOP stopped reform 15 years ago, and they are trying again now.

    What has the GOP done to fix the system in the last 10 years? NOTHING.

    In fact, their fantasy "free-market" policies have driven health care costs up, quality down, and now even more millions of people can't afford basic coverage.

    Its going to bankrupt us unless we pass reform now. The President campaigned to make a Public Option available for any American who chooses to purchase it. This system is not an "experiment," it is already in place for millions of people from Troops, to Seniors, to Senators – and they seem to like it very much (yes, even republicans!)

    August 5, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  14. AMB

    How much is all this campaigning costing the American taxpayers? Is there not a more ecomonical way to get a message out? How about something like skype?? I read an article this morning on msn that based on numbers from a about a year ago it cost $177,000. per hour for these trips. I do not understand how this is responsible spending.

    August 5, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  15. Tatianna

    Obama stop campaigning. Americans are sick n tired of seeing and hearing you give speeches.

    August 5, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  16. FAYE, NV

    We need to give the HealthCare Reform a chance, we give the Rep eight years to mess up things. Therefore, our new President is trying to help the country.

    August 5, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  17. Some republican guy

    I just heard on Fox news how the healthcare plan is going to force old people to commit suicide. Then ACORN and the narcissistic obamabots are going to process their bodies into meatloaf to serve in the school lunch program! Have a nice day

    August 5, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  18. Claudia in Houson

    The State of Texas has gone 42% Democrats and 40% Republican. The Republicans currently hold 5 states and are slowly loosing them.

    August 5, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  19. Rick in OP

    The Democrats do not have a clue about the manure avalanche that is waiting for senators and representatives when they come home for the August recess. Americans can tell when someone is trying to pull a fast one on them and they don’t like it. What we have seen so far is just an inkling of the public anger that is seething over the actions of the President and Congress since January of this year.
    These staged town hall meetings mean nothing.

    August 5, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  20. Scott, Tucson

    People do something that our congress have not done, read Obama's health care bill than decide if secretive governmental spying on your personal finances is what you want.

    August 5, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  21. makesUwonder

    Don't ya just love the way this guy leaves his carbon footprint all over the place!

    August 5, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  22. pat c

    you republicans are sad little people on this blog today. i bet you all have nasty frowns on your faces as you write such little slanders at our president. i am very proud of the democrats that support our president and with our strength and respect for president obama we will clean this republican mess up once an forall. i am sure in a few years the GOP will be a thing of the past just like a bad dream and our president will go down in history as the best president of the united states of america.

    August 5, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  23. JJ in Chula Vista, CA

    Republicans and anti-Obamabots have been out in full force in the blogs.

    It's the same people who gave us 8 years of George W. Bush and who would do it again if they could.

    Republicans pretend to be "so concerned" with America. It's a facade they've created for themselves, incited by the likes of conservative talk show hosts.

    If you listen to them closely, they're the ones that truly hate Americans ...and they make no apologies for it.

    August 5, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  24. Sam Sixpack

    When do we get to start paying more taxes?

    August 5, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  25. Four and The Door

    OMG, this headline had me very excited for a moment. I thought it meant Obama was going back to Chicago or something like that for good! But then that would leave Joe Biden in charge and it's like No, No, Noooooo....

    August 5, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
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