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. Tax cuts work based on last 8 years of growth?

    Yes, to quote the intelligent people on here posting: Let's shrink govt!

    I mean it's not like govt jobs are real jobs, so lets make the govt smaller and put more people out of work.

    Republican's answer to creating more jobs: put people working for the govt out of work!


    February 9, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |

    Look before leaping February 9th, 2009 3:14 pm ET Can we afford a failure?
    You should have said CAN WE AFFORD ANOTHER FAILURE?

    that stupid bush and gang caused this diaster. they had control of house & senater for 6 yrs. so you should ck your facts. He has to do something, since nothing has been done for 8 yrs except start a war over lies.

    February 9, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  3. Shawn-Tx

    It would be very irresponsible for government to give money directly to the American people. They cannott give each person enough to satisfy them even for one year, so they must figure out ways to create jobs that can pay people the money. Even if you give each person 50, 000 dollars and we all go buy new cars, in 2 years max we would all be broke and the economy would be even worse. Hope that clears things up

    February 9, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    How about an approval poll for the GOP in congress? ha...I'm willing to bet you they're throwing everything they've got at Gallup to prevent that from happening.

    February 9, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  5. boered1

    what a bunch of idiots! We NEED this NOW! ANY money into the economy (and yes I understand we, as a nation are going further into bushes debtland by doing this) will aid in getting things started, money into the infrastructure items will help put blue collar, (NASCAR dads and moms ie those without college educations but good trade skills) back to work! Is there some waste in the bill? Yep I bet there is, but if you add up all those things the Republicans have complained about it is less than 2%.. but hey let the country go to he** so the repubs can get brownie points


    February 9, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  6. Lee

    Post this spending / Chicago style Dem jobs patronage package on the internet for five days before voting and signing it like BHO said he would do. I want to read the bill. Why is some spending being held until 2011 and 2012? This whole thing stinks like a porker. Lipstick on a PIG.

    February 9, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  7. REF

    lets see obama is in elkhart seeking support fromn the locals on his pork bill little problem with that they make rv there you know gas guzzlers this is the same man who said 4 dollar a gallon gas was ok
    except it happed to quick also the richer people buy rv but remember we now hate people with disposal incomes. at one time obama stated we could drill our own oil this would creater cheaper prices per gallon and create real jobs and real wealth. also a steady price and real jobs might make people more ready to buy rvs.. but he now won the election and doesnt need our support anymore. so he lied again...............................................

    February 9, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  8. Luke Brown, Charleston SC

    Being "no stranger to politics" is a little exaggerated.

    "A high profile surrogate" for McCain" simply meant his record on women's issues was terrible and they some woman who was willing to let them use her to help cover it up.

    That's really not a substitute for political expereince. Let's face it, if she didn't have a net worth of $1.4 billion, no one would take her seriously.

    February 9, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  9. insanity

    Dont blame me said February 9th, 2009 3:21 pm ET
    he 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!!!!!!!!
    Dear Don't Blame Me,

    First of all CBO is non partisan organization. It's not a democratic organization like you stated.
    Secondly, it was looking at only the GDP, and not other factors like, jobless rates, healthcare coverage, etc. Even so, it only predicts a 0.1% drop. That's less than the amount US give in foreign aid.
    However, the stimulus is a must if you want to control the unemployment rate, and if you want to stop the downward spiral.

    February 9, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  10. Jackie in Dallas

    I keep hearing this comment "leaving our children and our grandchildren with a lifetime of debt" from those who are hesitant on the stimulus bill. If we don't do something NOW, there won't be a country for our children and our grandchildren to live in. Not everything FDR tried worked to bring us out of the Great Depression, but when something didn't work, they stopped, changed directions, and TRIED SOMETHING ELSE. Not doing anything is as much a wrong decision as doing the wrong thing.

    Oh, and guess what? Our parents and our grandparents LEFT US a truckload of debt, too. I'm 58, and I've been paying off the bills from the Great Depression, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam all my life. Some debt is ALWAYS a legacy to the future.

    February 9, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  11. Rob

    Obama is doing the politics equivalent of what guys used to do in high school: "If you really loved me, you'd have sex with me."

    Although in the end he will end up screwing the country, no matter what we say.

    And people like Sniffit will be supporting all the way...into the gutter.

    February 9, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  12. Griff

    You may not like my Negatives. But I know what it is like to be Born Poor... No Money No Food, but lots of Bills.. Dreams are for Dreamers..

    February 9, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  13. American Voter

    Stop looking backward to Bush people...and start looking forward...by choosing to focus on thinking for yourself; not because the president tells you it is so...either president.

    It doesn't matter if it is Bush or Obama...don't let your feelings about the inappropriateness of the last stimulus bill make you forget that this new one isn't going to be any better...it is just a different hand that will sign it. Afterall, it was Dems in control when the last one was presented and it is Dems in control this time.

    If you didn't like the last one then surely don't sign this one...they both came from the same party. Don't you keep up with who has been in control of congress for the past two years?

    February 9, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    @ TCM

    What don't you understand about the facts and evidence accumulated from the past few decades proving that tax cuts for the rich don't work? You think that after we gave corporate America $350B of unsupervised monopoly money and watched them waste it on themselves and their own, we should trust them to spend tax cuts responsibly? TAX CUTS/REFUNDS ARE NO DIFFERENT THAN UNSUPERVISED BAILOUT MONEY. Corporate America is NOT to be trusted to spend it ethically. Tax cuts will just go in their pockets and pay for $30,000 toilets.

    February 9, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  15. Patrick Griffin

    I agree to both sides of the argument. We need a stimulus package that is a little cheaper. Maybe about 550 billion and that should be directed in making jobs effectivley. Regulation must be put back in order. This money should not be directed towards the wallstreet goons and greedy CEO's. It should be put in the hands of the hard working americans that innovated this country. Make new construction programs and alternative energy programs directly and don't trust greedy corporations. We should all get a check equalling up to 300,000 so we can stay in our homes and keep the money flow going. This stimulus does go against the laws of supply and demand, but the stupid conservatives already screwed it up with CDS's and CDO's. We also cannot let liberals go on a socialist frenzy either and turn everything into Gov't owned. Let the citizens of this great country bring it back to the top of the pedistal and not let some deciver on wallstreet drive it further into the ground.

    February 9, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  16. Thinking People

    Thinking people don't have Big Mortages-No Credit Card payments past 30day-have a paid for car. (150,000+miles but paid for) and have saved for a rainy day. Well it is pouring out and the thinking people will do just fine. Those that lived on credit on a day by week basis with no
    saving are going to suffer. They in most cases just blew it.

    Obama in Elkhart is a waste of tax payer dollars. Let this president set and example and not waste helicopter and jet fuel on a stump for his
    plan to spend a trillion dollars. Child like move.

    February 9, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  17. Robert

    The "stimulus bill" or "psending bill" as it is referred to by the all wise semantics of the Republican party is amsut to get the country moving. Is it THE answer? No. "Free Trade" must be regulated. "Free trade "should not mean our workers are paid too much but also that developing countries that are not paying a living wage should should be forced too thru tarriffs. Look what deregulation of our bandks has brought about. "De regulating" forign trade has made this a one way street (and we are going the wrong way!) We becoming a service sector country instead of a good producing, industrial leader.Who ever decidied we had to lower our standards instaed of the world raisng theirs? Reagan, Bush1 and Bush 2. The only people that amke money from free trade is the manufacturing company and it's owners. Here and abroad. So lets get the palying field level again. Protectionism isn't the answer but balancing wages fairly is.

    February 9, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  18. Steph

    @ Kaye -Jacksonville FL
    I totally agree with you. A No vote and your state gets No money from the stimulus!

    February 9, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  19. Larry Houston Texas

    Those people are NOW either Laid – off , and on un-employment, or
    on welfare by now, if their unemployment ran out, already..

    Obama is not only staking his reputation on this Bailout, but his re-election, is how I look at it…

    And as for Elkhart, Indiana, I've been throughout ALL of Indiana…
    And let me tell you something – I know why he went to Elkhart …..
    There is several Huge Factories there, and the reason that the
    un-employment is 15% is because the majority of those people that live there, work for that outfit that manufactures all those RV'S /
    HUGE MOTOR HOMES / Huge CAMPERS / AIRSTREAM / and other Major Brands of Mobile Vehicles…..There must be thousands of people that used to work at these manufacturing plants, that put these together, and they typically order the Engines for these type of Mobile Homes & CAMPERS from GM.

    February 9, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  20. Main Street America

    Hope I get my check first.

    February 9, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  21. Jdd-ATL

    Obama still out on the campaign trail. Our country is going deeper in debt by a person who knows only how to talk it and nothing else. More of the same in-effective goverment.

    February 9, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  22. Mississippi Girl

    To Baracking up the Wrong Tree and Kaye in Jacksonville, FL

    AMEN!. When Bush came calling for his billion dollar bailout for a small group of people who swindled their money ie WALLSTREET, the REPUBs voted quickly, McCain stopped his campaign (because the economy needed him), and Paulson ripped us the American People off. and NOW they (the Republicans) think its the wrong plan for the wrong time. GIVE ME A FREAKING BREAK. Let's all say it together. America is not first for the Republicans, its me me me me and how I can be the one to hold up progress for THE ONE, President Obama. SHAME and like Kaye from Jacksonville state, don't accept the money if you vote against it.

    February 9, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  23. Dan, TX

    I used to be a republican, but they have no principles except when they don't have power. As soon as they get power they become kings and queens and only care about the nobles that help keep them in power. I don't believe anything they say. I've been listening to them on the Senate floor with their disingenuous and misleading criticism of the recovery act. Shame on them.

    Their goal – delay as long as possible with the hopes the economy gets worse for 2010 so they can blame it on the "do-nothing" democrats. The democrats rolled over for Bush so that we would be united in the war on terrorism. The republicans don't want Americans to have hope this bill will help the economy. Shame on them.

    February 9, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  24. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    The gauzy feel-good fluff of "yes we can" is yielding to the hard economic reality of "well maybe we can't". Even Biden admits that "if we do everything right, there's a 30% chance it won't work." Is a theoretical Keynesian spending spree of trillions preferable to suffering the temporary but purgative pain of a severe recession? Not if you're spending other people's money.

    February 9, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  25. Fan of Common Sense

    This has to be one of the most irresponsible and senseless pieces of legislation ever proposed in the history of this country. With leaders like this, how can this country NOT be heading for economic collapse. Even a child knows you don't become prosperous by spending. You become prosperous by saving. Nations are no different. If this bill was restricted to only infrastructure spending and BUSINESS tax cuts, it would be one thing, but it's not. It's full of pork to repay all of Obama's supporters and coffers.

    February 9, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
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