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

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

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/02/09/obama.indiana.trip/art.obama.indiana.cnn.jpg caption="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.

Full story

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

    I have seen many post and most of it stikes me as hogwash. However I do like one of the thoughts, if you think that the plan is wrong do not accept the money. I know it will get spent elsewhere and the taxpayer still has to foot the bill but at least you stood behind what you believe. To that end, if I receive a check from this stimulus package I think I will frame it and make it go toward my part of paying back this huge debt that we are incurring.

    February 9, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  2. abc

    i guess GOP is the enlightened bunch because while the rest of the world all working on or implementing their stimulus plan to jump start their ailing economies the GOP like the SC governor stated, we should let the bad banks fail without any government monetary help, just let the process of elimination take place? unemployed stay unemployed? no need for stimulus... until all the bads go away, the best will resurface? wow, do nothing? right, this is why we don't need economists, such simple analysis, JUST LET IT BE! eventually, when other countries are advancing, we're still doing tax cut-only and wait for economy to heal itself, indeed very natural 🙂
    while the credited experts around the world say the U. S. needs more than 1.4 trillion $ to stimuluate, some Americans rather slow our recovery by cutting our current 800+ billions in half? are we a little pompous of what's really happening?

    February 9, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  3. Frost

    The problems with this is
    Many companies fire people to keep from paying unemployment. Many states won't let someone draw unemployment if being fired.
    this didn't start this year, it's been going on and many people still have no found jobs unemployment benefits have run out.
    Some people didn't even make enough to pay income tax and got nothing from the last stimulus.
    Yet NO one has done a story on how many people didn't see a dime of it

    The numbers are incorrect.

    Someone please do a story and find out the truth!!

    The real numbers is what we need now.. the real truth

    February 9, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  4. spender

    SO, congress was yelling at auto execs for flying to Washington on private jets to make their case in front of Congress!!

    But, now it's OK for Obama to fly OUR jet Air Force One around the country to make his case to a few people!?!? What's he spending on all of this? He flew to Williamsburg Va last week for a Democrat Retreat to woo reps to support the bill.

    Sounds like a hypocrite. I guess if it's our money that he's taking and spending, then it doesn't matter? Show some fiscal responsibility and then maybe we'll take you seriously....This was the same message that you told auto makers....

    February 9, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  5. Todd


    #1 Lower the rate on Consumer Credit.
    Most Americans are swimming in debt. This causes them to cut back on spending. With a 33% tax rate and 33% credit card rate families have less that 40 cents on a dollar to spend.

    #2 Regain control of the economic policy by COMPETING (NOT BAILING OUT) banks.
    Banks are not will lending because they are focusing on padding thier infrastructure while neglecting thier service to the American people which is to provide interest on deposits and to lend. Do this by creating a government backed credit vehicle which runs at max rate of 8%. This will provide wrangle power from the banks and force them to become more competitive.

    #3 Fix the HMOs which currently rob people with useless co-pays and deductables. 70% of all debt is medical related debt which is a clear indication that the HMO's are not working. Fix them!

    February 9, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  6. jim

    The current problem with the banks needs to be fixed before any of this spending should take place. If that isn't fixed, it won't matter whether or not you have a job.

    February 9, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  7. Richard

    Democrats make the Republican party look better and better.

    February 9, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  8. greedy

    It seems to me this economic recession is not the result of government policies, but rather greed and excess by corporate America. And when has the government ever been the solution to greed and excess?

    February 9, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  9. daniel cabrera

    BO still at 'campaign mode' and NOT LEADERSHIP MODE!

    February 9, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  10. JSU-TIGER99

    I have tio agree with (Sam and Who Cares) The GOP have had 8 year to make this country better what did they do they bury it in DEBT So now we have someone who want to clean it up and make it better for all people and here they are hoping that the man fail at what he want to do, I am so happy they are not in control.

    February 9, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  11. Gracie, MD

    WELL DONE President Obama. I watched you speak today, and despite everyone's "negativity", your doing a GREAT job. My hat goes off to you. Unlike most "haters" in this blog, I'm behind you 150%.

    Don't listen to all these pundits and critics who aren't bringing anything to the TABLE except a lot of hot air. They don't know SQUAT, but yet continue to criticize everything under the sun. Everyone is an expert, and yet NONE of these folks have ever been a President!! How about that?

    February 9, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  12. JS

    Watcher.. you are a ridiculous republican lapdog. Trying to blame Bill Clinton for this recession is simply evading the truth.

    February 9, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  13. Scott the Independent

    watcher – the economy was doing well a few years ago – ON THE SURFACE – underneath things were falling apart and the Bush administration knew it. Remember when Bush decided to speed up daylight saving time so people would shop longer during the season or the 168 billion dollar tax refund – Bush had been doing things like that in an attempt to hold up the economy. I was never intended to crash when it did. The GOP had been trying to hold things together until after the general election, but the price of gas; which America can not solely control got in the way. It made all the effort by the Bush administration unravel. As a result the economy crashed before Bush left office. The GOP knew the disaster was coming and didn't know how to fix it so they attempted to patch it until Bush left office. Then the GOP would lie, mislead and misrepresent the facts to say it wasn't their fault. Why do you think so many are leaving now; they want to be out of office before they are disgraced.

    February 9, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  14. JS


    February 9, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  15. Simmy

    Anyone saying they don't understand the need for the S-PACK at this point is lying and just plain hateful. Limbaugh, Drudge, and many Republicans, like Gov. Sanford of SC, are so tied to their ideologies, that they would rather die than switch. SC has 20% below the poverty level. More than 50% of the now working poor, including those who have been laid off, are using food stamps. And he says he won't apply for aid from the S-PACK. If I were a voter in that state, I'd kick him out of office. Pride and hatred goeth before the fall.

    February 9, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  16. Greg in Colorado

    You all don't get it!!!! Anything to tear down Obama. He's only been in office for three weeks and already some of you are on his case. I can't wait for you to be judged, or when you have to take on something is out-of-control. I want you to be the U.S. president and then write back on this blog and see what you'll say then. The republicans are done and in their not supporting this bill is just the bluff their blinding you with. WHY NOW, WHY NOT THE LAST 8 YEARS???? All of a sudden the repubs have comment on fisical responsibility. I think they need to sit down shut up and play along. Lord knows they have lost CREDIBILITY. I am moving forward!!!!

    YES WE CAN!!!!

    February 9, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  17. Mary

    Good that CNN is reporting the BIG NEWS instead of Junkies like what happened to Obama hitting his HEAD.

    I loved the townhall meeting, he should do more of this and answer people's question. This is one way of educating publics in simple terms.

    The Right-wing TV/RADIO shows are distorting the truth and fool Simple and uneducated people. Hopefully with Obama's push, the Republican party will become (as is right now) a regional party Once and for all, until they come back with better & new ideas than OLD 60's and 70's ideas (like TAX CUT FIXES ALL).

    It's very simple to understand that OLD TAX CUT IDEA does not solve the economy problem. HERE IS WHY:

    If you 've a well paying job, and the economy is bad, and you recevei TAX CUT, what do you do? you most likely save the money instead of spending it, so it does not stimilate the economy.

    IF you are a corporaation, and the economy is bad, and you receive tax cut, what do you do? you keep the money, so just in case you can prevent layoffs. it does not create new JOBS or stimulates, it may only maintain their cash flow for a while.

    However, if you're unemployed and looking for a job, a tax cut may help you but what will help you a bit more is unemployment insurance until you find a job.

    If you have a job, but not huge income, then if you get a tax cut, you will spend it, So it's good to Give tax cut to the low income family (Obama's plan) and not to wealthy or Big corporation (Republican Plan). The amount of the tax cut must be reasonable not like what senate is proposing which seems to be almost %42 of the stimulus package.

    February 9, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  18. Greg in Colorado

    To watcher,
    Wow are you out of touch. Nothing could get donw because anything the Congress tried to do would be vetoed by Bush. Read a book or something.

    February 9, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  19. wayne

    Sniffit, are you suggesting that all money and wealth belong to the government?

    What scares the bejesus out of me is that so many people seem to think like you do. You truly do not deserve your citizenship.

    February 9, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  20. Donald R Brown

    What most Democrats fail to acknowledge is that most Americans realize that their "stimulous plan" is little more than a gargantuan spending spree.It will not provide long-term enployment.The only item in it that provides jobs requires less than 5% of the package.T he rest is nothing more than spending.Worse,this is money borrowed from foreign sources.It has to be re-payed.Obama wants to lower taxes as Dems want to put us further in debt.Makes no sense.When this borrowed money is gone what will the Dems do?Borrow more and put us ever deeper in debt to foreign governments?Common sense calls for less spending and more saving.Rather than spend all the money we get we should be saving and investing in manufacturing and industry.I,personally,have a plan that would work,though it would take a lot of time.Profligate borrowing and spending does not work.

    February 9, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  21. Mel from California

    Thanks Mr. President for such an informative townhall meeting. Please do so from now on to get in touch with people more & more. This is new to American and we love it.

    Republican had 8 years to try their OLD IDEAS and it did not work. THE ECONOMY WILL NOT BE FIXED BY TAX CUT ONLY.

    They are a regional party now and with Mr. Obama's push, I HOPE THAT THEY WILL BECOME ONE PERMANENTLY.

    February 9, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  22. AJP Richardson, TX

    What can I say, the Republicans suck!!!

    February 9, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  23. Sarty

    French are putting 4 trillion into their economy. British,Chines, Europeans, Canadians- all contributing their economies.
    For American economy of 15 trillion, 850 billion may be the right scope.

    February 9, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  24. Scandal

    President Obama did not put us in this mess......the "other" President put us in this mess...so quit blaming Obama who is trying to at least help us get out of it. My God....you people are complaining and don't have your facts straight! So he flew around on Air Force One....so did Bush....Bush took more vacations than I can count and where were you naysayers then!

    February 9, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  25. rena

    Spender – Shut the heck up!!! This man first all has priviledged access to the Air Force One, to go wherever he wants just like your stupid President Bush went on vacation trips and hunting trips with it.

    Secondly, yes your tax dollars are paying for it just like it did for all the previous Presidents. That's how they get paid idiot by your tax dollars, just like our herioc soldiers get paid. I guess you think we shouldn't be spending our money on our soldiers in order for them to have the equipment they need to stay safe in this unrelentless war your stupid president came up with.

    It's fools like you who shouldn't be allowed to vote.

    February 9, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
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