September 28th, 2010
06:16 PM ET
4 years ago

Obama focuses his message on the choice facing voters

(CNN) - On issue after issue Tuesday, President Barack Obama kept returning to a campaign theme he repeated like a mantra - voters have a choice of supporting Democrats in November to continue moving the nation forward, or backing Republicans to return to failed policies of the past.

The president faced a range of questions at a town hall-style meeting in the yard of a home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but no matter the topic - education, small businesses, military veterans, clean energy - he repeatedly reminded listeners that the upcoming congressional elections would be their time to decide.

"I hope everybody is going to pay attention and do their homework and find out about candidates," Obama said at the end of the hour-long event. "And I think what you'll find is, is that when you're making choices for governor and you're making choices for Senate and Congress, that these choices are going to mean something."

He encouraged people to ask themselves, "What direction do I want this country to go in?"

"Do I want to invest in our people, in our middle class and making it stronger, and our infrastructure and our education system and clean energy - is that one vision," Obama said, "or are we just going to keep on doing the same things that got us into this mess in the first place?"

His stark portrayal of the stakes in November comes as polls show likely losses for Democrats, with a possibility they could lose their majority in the House.

Lingering high unemployment, two wars and a growing federal deficit feed voter anger. Republican critics amplified by right-wing media and an energized conservative Tea Party movement continually hammer Obama's administration and congressional Democrats for what they call irresponsible policies.

Bill Burton, the White House deputy press secretary, told reporters Tuesday that Obama was seeking to fire up Democrats for November by emphasizing the choice facing Americans.

"What he's making is a very practical argument about making sure people get out and vote," Burton said, later adding: "If folks sit on the sidelines and if Republican leaders in Washington get more votes come this November, then the impact on the lives of Americans from tax cuts to the strength of our schools to the strength of our economy will be profound."

At the first stop in Albuquerque on a four-state, campaign-style tour this week, Obama focused on his achievements of his first 20 months in office and depicted Republicans as practicing the politics of destruction.

On education, he said, reforms so far are aimed at raising standards and improving the aptitude of U.S. students in math and science so they are better prepared for college and careers in the global economy.

Republicans, Obama said, are proposing widespread spending cuts while trying to ensure that Bush-era tax cuts get extended to the wealthiest 2 percent of the population at a cost to the nation of $700 billion over the next 10 years.

"I just want everybody to think about those kinds of issues as you go into the polling place in November," Obama said. "Who's going to prioritize our young people to make sure they've got the skills they need to succeed over the long term? Nothing is going to be more important in terms of our long-term success."

When a young man started crying while asking about veterans' benefits for his disabled father, Obama walked over to console him, then noted increased spending by his administration for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

"This is again an example of where, come November, we've got to start making some choices because if, for example, we give tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires that cost us $700 billion that we don't have, that money has to come from somewhere," Obama said. "And we've got to be able to provide for our veterans. I'd rather choose veterans."

In another response, Obama derided Republicans for playing politics on issues with a view toward the upcoming elections.

"This is the greatest country on Earth and will continue to be the greatest country on Earth as long as we can go ahead and handle serious problems that we have, instead of playing political games all the time," Obama said. "And when you look at the choices before you, I think you've got to ask yourself who is offering serious answers."


Filed under: 2010 • President Obama
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. No More

    Mr. President, thank you for reminding voters to do their homework before casting their vote on November 2, 2010. I can say with complete honesty Mr. President, I've done my homework thoroughly in 2008, that was the reason I did not vote for you. This midterm election, like I did in 2008, I've done my homework like a responsible American voter should; suffice to say Mr. President, I'd be voting straight Republican ticket from state to federal level.

    There's nothing wrong with America WE THE PEOPLE can't fix, we have a CAN-DO-SPIRIT Mr. President. And because of that CAN-DO-SPIRIT, WE THE PEOPLE will CHANGE THE GUARD in the Capitol Hill. It might not be to your taste Mr. President, but we the SILENT MAJORITY ARE MAD AS HELL! We won't take it anymore, from you or your party.

    September 28, 2010 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  2. Debby

    Is Obama on the same planet how are we moving ahead with him and the Dems. in control?????

    September 28, 2010 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  3. BobInIrvine

    Did Fox News and CNN merge? Because the right wingnuts are out in force here.

    September 28, 2010 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  4. No More

    "On education, he said, reforms so far are aimed at raising standards and improving the aptitude of U.S. students in math and science so they are better prepared for college and careers in the global economy. "

    Return education to the state, they know more about their school districts than the federal government. ELIMINATE Department of Education, National Endowment for The Ars, Department of Energy. I've had enough of the federal government controlling lives of people. STATES RIGHTS!

    September 28, 2010 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  5. Monny Mondragon

    Everyone with a reasonable brain can see that the democrats' party line now is to demonize wealthy people. That, dear ones, is not American, at least not American in all of our centuries to date. Would a reasonable American really vote to take away from a successful person to give to a person who has not applied himself? Really? Then why should any American work hard to better themselves? Why, dear ones, are you even bothering with college?

    September 28, 2010 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  6. anthony

    Democrats who think Obama has not done enough should consider what the alternative is. The alternative, as the Republican's "Pledge to America" has made clear, is the same old Republican policies that have not worked in 30 years. Thanks to Republican policies, our national debt went from under a trillion before Reagan to over 10 trillion before Obama took office, the 2009 deficit was over 1.2 trillion before Obama had a chance to do anything (Bush projected a 2009 deficit of 400 billion in the budget he submitted to Congress, which he was required to do because the 2009 fiscal year started on October 1, 2008, but the actual tax revenues in 2009 fell 600 billion short of projection, and spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was not included in his budget), and Republicans want to extend the Bush tax cut for all, which will add 3.8 trillion to the national debt. Republicans can claim that they want to cut spending, but they have not succeeded in cutting spending for the last 30 years. The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again-cutting taxes without cutting spending- and expect a different result.

    September 28, 2010 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  7. No More

    "What he's making is a very practical argument about making sure people get out and vote," Burton said, later adding: "If folks sit on the sidelines and if Republican leaders in Washington get more votes come this November, then the impact on the lives of Americans from tax cuts to the strength of our schools to the strength of our economy will be profound."

    You have SUPERMAJORITY in Congress, you have overwhelming MAJORITY in the US Senate (59 democrats, 41 Republicans); you have the NERVE to BLAME Republicans Mr. President, when its your OWN party who CONTROLS everything? How dare you! You think WE THE PEOPLE are dumb and stupid?!?!?!

    September 28, 2010 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  8. Not fooled

    President Obama is for: Social Security, Medicare, Veterans benefits, Education. Republicans want to privatize everything. I think I'll stick with President Obama, I don't like gambling. I usually lose.

    September 28, 2010 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  9. S. in California

    The choice is simple Mr. President: Republicans = Past; and Democrats = Future.

    Democrats. Right For America.

    September 28, 2010 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  10. Maria

    Is this guy for real???

    September 28, 2010 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  11. ChumBucket

    blah blah blah..

    kick your base when their down, good stratagy...

    let me know how that works out for you.

    September 28, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  12. Four and The Door

    We will be thinking about passing major legislation like ObamaCare using a Reconciliation procedure in the Senate and the $60 billion break you allowed the unions to have to get their support. We will be thinking about borrowing billions of dollars from our future to build bullet trains for regions that have a high concentration of Democratic Senators who sign up for Obama legislation. We will be thinking about the whole host of anti-business legislation passed while the economy and unemployment continues to get worse. And we will be thinking about the wasted $50 billion given to Democratic -friendly General Motors while our nation's debt grows faster than any time in history. Yes, we have seen enough. We will not forget.

    September 28, 2010 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  13. bill

    president obama is exactly right.we have a choice.do we go back to bushes years or do we go forward.rember two wars UN FUNDED INVASION OF SOVERAN COUNTRY.america we are better than that.WHAT IS THE REPUB PLAN.SAME SAME OLD CRAP TAX CUTS FOR RICH.our ex president and chaney belong in prision.for war crimes.WAKE UP AMERICA.OR LOOSE IT

    September 28, 2010 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  14. objectiveguy

    I think he has completely missed the point. Voters don't think that we ARE moving forward, at least not in a direction that the majority of the population wants. That's why we are all poised to vote for a change in November. Last time I checked, the vast majority of us were much better off under the Republicans. I'm ready to give them another chance–god knows, they can't do worse!

    September 28, 2010 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  15. T'SAH from Virginia

    "Do I want to invest in our people, in our middle class and making it stronger, and our infrastructure and our education system and clean energy – is that one vision," Obama said, "or are we just going to keep on doing the same things that got us into this mess in the first place?"

    This is the direction I want to go and I will stick with President Obama and not jump ship just because the fear-mongering is out there and all odds seem to be against him!! We are strong and we are able to get through this!!

    DEMOCRATS – tell the politicians to STATE a CASE and mean it – UNITE the BASE and believe in it and STOP disin' each other and stick together so we can WIN this RACE in November 2010!!

    This is T'SAH from Virginia and I approve this message!!!

    September 28, 2010 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  16. southern cousin

    Yes we voers have a choice between the failed policies of a corrupt, slimy Congress that has held power for four years and the more recent additoin of an incompetent, inept, corrupt union toady president or try something different. Remember the recession started after the slimy libs took control of Congress and got much worse when the scummy president used our tax money to pay back the corrupt union bosses and left wing nut organizations that did to us.

    September 28, 2010 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  17. T'SAC from Virginia

    "This is again an example of where, come November, we've got to start making some choices because if, for example, we give tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires that cost us $700 billion that we don't have, that money has to come from somewhere," Obama said. "And we've got to be able to provide for our veterans. I'd rather choose veterans."
    __________________________
    Gee, 700 billion sure wasn't such a big deal when he squandered it on a stimuless plan that basically paid off Unions and kept State Bureaucrats in their bureaucratic jobs while the private side sucks wind...This guy is unbelievable, let's see, he props up some little sick kid next to him while cramming healthcare reform through against a public majority, now he is trying to use wounded veterans and their funding and education scare tactics....what a piece of work, Affirmative Action Jackson!

    September 28, 2010 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  18. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    "...voters have a choice of supporting Democrats in November to continue moving the nation forward..."

    "Forward" toward abject socialism? That's what Obama means by "forward"–and even all but the most Flaming Left of Democrats reject that. Obama has obviously lost touch not only with most Americans, he's lost touch with most Democrats too.

    September 28, 2010 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  19. 8 Years of having a drunken driver at the wheel put America in the ditch, why would working Americans return the keys to the crowd drinking at the same bar?

    The consequences of Dems not voting in 5 weeks will put America in a time machine and the neo-cons will return to 2008.

    They want a second chance to cause a depression and demolish what is left of the middle class.

    Of course then the "onward christian soldiers" will reinstate both the Crusades and the Inquisition!.

    "You vill believe in Christ, and you vill believe now, Sieg Heil!"

    September 28, 2010 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |