February 9th, 2009
02:33 PM ET
11 years ago

Obama stumps for stimulus in Indiana: 'We can't afford to wait'

President Obama takes a question in Elkhart, Indiana, Monday where he said doing nothing was not an option.

President Obama takes a question in Elkhart, Indiana, Monday where he said doing nothing was not an option.

ELKHART, Indiana (CNN) - Seeking to rekindle last year's election magic, President Obama traded the beltway for the heartland Monday, hitting the road to make the case for his controversial $800 billion stimulus package in a part of the country particularly hard hit by the economic downturn.

Watch: 'We can't afford to wait,' the Pres. says

Addressing a raucous, campaign-style town hall meeting in Elkhart, Indiana, Obama warned that the road to economic recovery would take years, and that a failure to pass an effective stimulus plan quickly could result in an "economic crisis as deep and as dire as the Great Depression."

The downturn could become a "crisis that at some point we may be unable to reverse," Obama told a packed high school gymnasium. "We can't afford to wait."

Elkhart has seen its unemployment rate triple to more than 15 percent over the past year. The city's jobless rate is roughly double the national average; a number of the nation's top recreational vehicle makers are located in Elkhart, and hundreds of workers at those plants have lost their jobs.

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Filed under: economic stimulus • Indiana • President Obama
soundoff (200 Responses)
  1. liz

    "Anything worth having, is worth waiting for" Author unknown
    Let's take time to iron out the wrinkle before we leave our children, grand children and great granchildren with a lifetime of debt

    February 9, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    Can't wait to hear him tear the GOP a new one during his prime time press conference tonight. Break out the popcorn...

    February 9, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  3. Tulsa

    You go Mr. President.
    It is refreshing to see a President who will stand up and take questions, not from a tightly controlled set of plants, but from a cross section of the country.
    To you Republicans, The people cheering for the President of the United States hold YOUR future in THEIR hands too. Better listen to them.

    February 9, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  4. naqib

    So much for the politics of hope...
    Looks like the politics of fear is alive and well...

    Change... yup

    February 9, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  5. Bino

    Yeah. Hurry Up! Brazile is getting tired of waiting for GM to invest 1 billion of taxpayers money to create new jobs there – what's the hold up!

    February 9, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  6. TCM

    with this plan, we can afford to wait FOREVER...it does nothing but refill the empty welfare funds....so they'll be empty again in a matter of months....only 8-9% is slated for job creation....what the American people don't understand is it's not the government's job to create employment! They need to reduce taxes on industry, and make it more attractive for business to expand.....we pay the highest corporate tax rates in the world...and liberal idiots here still think if they tax the corporations more, it'll work out! Liberalism is definitely a mental illness....totally cureable with a dose of reality, a job, and a repeated administration of responsibility.....

    February 9, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  7. frodo

    Go on Mr. President, finish the sentence: "We can't afford to wait"....Because the public will wake up and realize that the $700billion that Bush spent didn't do anything, and the $800billion that I'm proposing to spend won't help the average person either...

    This is just an excuse to grow government and take more of our hard earned money to be spent by government. If you are Democrat or Republican, I'm sorry for both of you because your parties are making the SAME EXACT mistakes and are blindly moving forward. It's ridiculous to hear you two parties argue that THEIR $700 billion will work when the OTHER's didn't... How laughable!!!!!!

    February 9, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  8. eds

    Shelby doesn't get what America voted for... He says the spending of the stimulus package is unprecidented... (I am paraphrasing, having been unable to find the correct quote) HELLLLOOOO... America's current economic situation is pretty darn unprecidented as well. The Congress needs to unite and get the show on the road.

    February 9, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  9. Obama Fan

    I love this. It's like he is telling Congress to SUCK IT!!!

    February 9, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  10. frodo

    Go on Mr. President, finish the sentence: "We can't afford to wait"....Because the public will wake up and realize that the $700billion that Bush spent didn't do anything, and the $800billion that I'm proposing to spend won't help the average person either...

    This is just an excuse to grow government and take more of our hard earned money to be spent by government. If you are Democrat or Republican, I'm sorry for both of you because your parties are making the SAME EXACT mistakes and are blindly moving forward. It's ridiculous to hear you two parties argue that THEIR $700 billion will work when the OTHER's didn't... How laughable!!!!!!!

    February 9, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  11. Dittohead

    Yes we can!!

    February 9, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  12. Mike O'Brien

    Mr. President and Senators.., something is better than nothing. Bush proved that. We need help. Mike in Montana

    February 9, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  13. Look before leaping

    Can we afford a failure?

    February 9, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  14. Chris from NY

    54 percent of the people polled support Obama's stimulus package. That's the same number that voted for him in the election. So, go figue. The Republicans don't want to give the man a chance to do anything before they start to criticize him. He hasn't done anything yet but try to clean up after Bush. Republicans only ask for more tax cuts as they have branded abortion as the only sin on the planet. Tax cuts are not the only way out of the mess we're in right now. Just as the President said in Indiana today ; if we have to spend this much money we might as well have something to show for it in the long run.

    February 9, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  15. yuri

    That's a scary unemployment number in Elkhart, IN. The GOP will still not apprehend the gravity of the current grave situation and will, most likely, keep erecting stumbling blocks to the stimulus plan. They are behaving even worse than zombies, particularly, Shelby, with his southern Alabaman drawl, and Mike Pence, with his poker face, sounding their oft-repeating slogans of their "dIsastrous" attitude towards the economic plan.

    February 9, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  16. liberty

    Do you realize what Obama's carbon footprint IS????

    How about sitting behind your desk in the white house and TELEVISING a speech. Why are you running all around the country screaming I NEED this bill NOW NOW NOW!!!!

    It didn't work for Bush and your $700billion won't work either...how about showing some true leadership and SHRINK government. The only people this will help are healthcare and government employees...

    February 9, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  17. no corporate politics

    Rememeber while he is out there campaigning for this, he has his press secretary saying he is not out there campaigning.

    It is these small lies that fascinate me. It is as if he does have to even try to hard be honest. As if he is pushing the lie envelope to see how far he can go.

    Like when he said he had bipartisan House support and no republicans voted with him.

    Has someone started a lie tracker web site on this guy yet?

    February 9, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  18. Had It

    Liz must have a job and savings – or a hubby or ex-hubby supporting her. Not a clue about how long hunger and cold will wait. NOT ONE MINUTE LIZ

    February 9, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  19. Edward L. Foggs

    I've noticed you've been using a phrase about the Obama administration "Keeping Them Honest". While I recognize the importance of monitoring government, I don't recall the use of such a headline phrase during the previous administration. I don't like what it infers and wish you would change it.

    February 9, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  20. wasabe kid

    I think we should follow this man's lead. Conservative leaders, of course, have returned to the standard Goldwater rhetoric of free market + tax cuts as the program to solve all problems from Afghanistan to toothache. That is what they always say and that is what they never do when they are in power (like from 1994 – 2006).

    They don't believe in it, don't mean it, have absolutely no intention of implementing it, and it doesn't work.

    Obama's a smart guy. He has surrounded himself with smart advisers. This stimulus packages is what they came up with. We have to do something. All Conservatism offers is another bag of hot air.

    February 9, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  21. Karrie

    Liz: – 3:06 pm ET

    Our chidren, grandchildren, and great grandchildren are already saddled with a lifetime of debt because of 8 years of the failed policies of a Republican Administration, doubling the deficit from $5- to $10 trillion. It's a little late to start worrying about that now.

    February 9, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  22. Dont blame me

    The democratically controlled CBO ( Congressional Budget Office ) stated on Thursday that this bill will do more HARM than good to the economy.

    So, if the CBO which is controlled by the democrats is stating that this bill will do MORE HARM than good, WHAT DOES THIS TELL YOU PEOPLE!!!!!!!!

    WAKE UP AMERICA, before it is too late!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 9, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  23. d1120

    I'll do my part as soon as I get my check.....WHERE'S MY REBATE CHECK???

    February 9, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  24. john

    Liz that is a dumb quote you cant wait to feed your kids now either

    February 9, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  25. American Voter

    No, we can't afford this stimulus bill. Give us a real bipartisan one that is about half in cost. Then we will listen.

    February 9, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
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