February 9th, 2009
09:52 AM ET
13 years ago

President Obama no stranger to Elkhart

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/09/art.boelkhart0209.gi.jpg caption="Then-Sen. Obama spoke with Sam and Dannielle Ericson while canvassing for votes in Elkhart, Indiana last May. Obama will return to the town as president on Monday."]
(CNN) - President Barack Obama's no stranger to Elkhart, Indiana, where he's holding a town hall meeting today to promote his plan to stimulate the economy.

Obama made a short stop in the northern Indiana city in early May, when he was battling Hillary Clinton for his party's presidential nomination. Clinton narrowly edged Obama in the primary, but she ended up dropping out of the race for the White House a month later.

Obama returned to Elkhart and held a rally in the northern Indiana city in early August, when he was fighting Republican Sen. John McCain for the presidency. Obama edged out McCain by 1 percentage point in the general election, becoming the first Democratic presidential candidate to win the state since 1964.

Elkhart's unemployment rate topped 15 percent in December, about triple what it was a year ago. The city's jobless rate is about 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.


Filed under: Indiana • President Obama
soundoff (273 Responses)
  1. Bo

    It is really sad to see the republicans acts like fools, after all their years of budget deficit, tax cuts to the wealthy, and fiscal irresponsibility led us into this mess. They are on the loosing side but still wants to dictate what takes place in Washington as if they never lost, or as if the citizen of this great country never resoundingly rejected their deranged ideas. I hope they continue in this retarded path, because this will definitely guarantee their political wilderness merry-go-round for years to come, YEEPEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    PRESIDENT OBAMA we lOVE yah, we TRUST yah, and we PRAY continually for you to SUCCEED to the disappointment of the gainsayers.

    February 9, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  2. Hammer

    If Obama is concerned about the American unemployed why has he not moved to stop the illegal workers taking the jobs of the people that he claims voted him into office? Just more politics as usual.

    February 9, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  3. Steph

    FEAR. Yes, the fear that the republicans started.

    February 9, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  4. Lady V

    I can say; Obama is making an attempt to help the American people; which is far more that the last eight years. I ask you Republicans what have you done for the country? That's what I thought "NOTHING"!!!!! I'm quite sure Bush left you guys in forclosure and etc. too!!!!

    February 9, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  5. DAN D

    ELKHART INDIANA IS A HOLE!

    February 9, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  6. Ken in NC

    Senator Shelby says we are headed towards a financial disaster and going down a road we have never traveled before and it is the wrong road to take. Now let me get this straight. If we have NEVER been down this road before how does he know it is the wrong road to take? If the road he wants us to take is the road Republicans had us on before and we ended up in this mess, why would we continue down this road when we already know that this road is the road that brought us to this point now.

    Now I do not know that the road our President has us on now is the right road either but I do know the road we were on was the wrong route. So if this doesn't work we will have to do it again and again until we get it right. WE ARE AMERICANS. We do not just give up and walk away. We will keep up the struggle until we get it right. Now to all you who want to see this country fail I suggest you be very quiet about it as this is not the time or place to be expressing those views. Our finest hour is always when we are at our worst. so get on the bus or get thrown under it.

    February 9, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  7. sg

    I love to hear Obama and the other libs blame this mess on the past eight years of tax cuts. Looks like they have no clue regarding what really caused this mess. What caused the mess is Democrat policies like telling banks to kind of look the other way at borrower's credit history. Erasing key banking regs helped also. This is the perfect storm and we can thank the Dems for this. Hey Dems – Man up and take responsibility!

    February 9, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  8. Ben

    Debbie – MediaMatters is a Liberal rag. You actually used THAT to support your arguments?

    February 9, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  9. Humanist

    Forgot to add. It is interesting that the Republicans are saying that the Stimulus Bill is expensive. They think the Iraq war is cheap. Yes of course it does not involve their children. Its poor peoples lives so it must ne cheap. Wake up America what do you want to conserve. Lets change for a better world.

    February 9, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  10. Obama 2.0

    Yea Bush never bumped his head, he bumped yours and mine.

    February 9, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  11. Mike Dallas

    After President Obama handed the repubs their head on a platter last Thursday at the DNC retreat, Gallop shows that the majority of Americans agree with this bill.

    So, just keep being obstructionist repubs. Remember when President Obama takes it to the average American, you lose and will lose, because he is for the little guy and repubs are against the little guy and these speeches only point that out vividly.

    Keep it up.

    Please.

    February 9, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  12. peter

    Gop and the media cornered OBAMA. Thanx to our corrupt system!

    February 9, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  13. BB

    Spector – R-PA – must have heard from his constituents. He's up for re-election next year.

    McCain (Of Keating 5 S&L De-regulation shame fame) should go home and talk to the non-millionaires in his state. He's up for re-election too.

    I think there are more poor people in AZ than their are multi-millionaires.

    Email or call your representatives for your state (both R and D) and make your voices heard.

    February 9, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  14. Jill

    Hammer February 9th, 2009 11:59 am ET

    If Obama is concerned about the American unemployed why has he not moved to stop the illegal workers taking the jobs of the people that he claims voted him into office? Just more politics as usual.

    I thought republicans like McCain stated that illegals take the jobs that Americans won't do. Make up your mind, you can't have it both ways.

    BTW – those jobs were primarily in contstruction here in TX – they're not working either.

    February 9, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  15. Jackie

    Anonymous...if you cannot put into perspective what John McCain was talking about in regards to what he knows or does not know regarding economics, then there is no hope for you. O'bama does not know any more than McCain in regards to economics, (proof with this stimulas package) not to mention his experience is far less in regards to managing, running a government, and reaching across the aisles. I was hoping for more in his speech last week. Sure he was talking at the Democrat caucas or whatever that was, but he was in front of the camera addressing the entire nation.

    You need to do your homework and educate yourself in how and when this whole mess started. But to be honest...I don't care anymore. Both sides are to blame in one way or another and have to fix this and fix this fast!

    February 9, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  16. Change is coming!

    Wow can we as Americans get along.... we have to do something to get us out of the mess we are in ... shouldn't we trust the President that the majority voted for???? we need to support his agenda like we supported W. Bush... right or wrong we supported him.

    February 9, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    President Obama is reaching out further to the places that are in need of support continiously. Why can't this be seen in the HEARTS of congress (Rep) who should focus as he focus. Charity begins at home then spreads abroad. On the View this morning, Diane Sawers rolled up her sleeves and reported on Kentucky, the children and the cole minners. This is what is ment by change. 'I didnt know' will not work in America any more when people suffer and are long over due. The man is serious. The very ones working on the Stimulus should be as well. Not just the Dems but the Reps holding up progress as well instead of finding fault. What president do you know defends his promise to the American people and continues to reach out and do something about it? Instead of making fun at him and what he does should be addressing what they themselves can be doing to over come the obsticles that exists. This is not a laughing matter nor the time. If he fails you fail. Keep that in mind. Instead of fault finding-help. Look out among you to those in need. Politics is politics-Games. For once be possitive expecially those who are financialy able and stop nick picking on matters that are of no importance.

    February 9, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  18. Anna, Missouri

    I am a Republican but I voted for every Democrat on the ballot this year. Was it hard? No! As much as you want to blame a "Democratic controlled Congress of the past 2 years" I ask you to please think again. They only had one more vote than the Republicans had in the Senate, and if you remember, (so many seem to have already forgot) we had a Republican President for the past 8 years and 6 of those years we had Republican Controlled Congress. In those 8 years Republicans doubled the national debt from 5 trillion to 10 trillion! Without 60 votes in the Senate, the Democrats hands were tied behind their backs. It was a Republican President that had to sign anything into law, and he wouldn't. I am so sick and tired of hearing that tax cuts are the only way to solve our problems. We are in big trouble, and we voted to give this new President a chance to change the direction of this country. I have watched the hearings and the debates in the Senate and the committee meetings in the house. I agree that the Democrats were able to vote down most ammendments in the House, but all the Republicans were offering was more tax cuts for Corporations. Guess what people, if people are not able to buy anything due to lost jobs or fear of lost jobs, the tax cuts for the Corporations will not help. People have to buy the products that the corporations are selling if the Corporations want to stay in business. Tax cuts for corporations will not make people buy. Corporations will not use the tax cuts to invest in new jobs, if no one is buying their products now. Barack Obama is giving the Republicans 42 % of his plan to tax cuts and has reached out to them and they are playing politics to position themselves for the next election. Bipartisanship has to work both ways, and the Republicans are not trying to be bipartisan. It is time for all of us to send messages to our Senators and tell them we have had enough!

    February 9, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  19. Ken in NC

    President Obama should have taken Senator Shelby with him to Elkhart, Indiana so the people there could see what a real Village Idiot looks like and then the Village Idiot could try to explain why he wants to see the President fail in his efforts to save our economy and possibly our country.

    I make no bones about the fact that I am not 100% pleased with all of the stimulus package but President Obama is our President and Leader now and I know that I do not have a lot of time left before going under so I would like to see people stop dragging this thing out and do something, even if it is wrong. Doing something right or wrong is better than doing nothing or doing what we have done for the last 8 years.

    February 9, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  20. Obama 2.0

    Obama needs to sit the Republicans and Democrats down like little children and school them. He needs to tell them that he has given them the directive and if they have a better solution, he is all ears 😉

    February 9, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  21. Fan of Common Sense

    Anywhere there is misery and fear, this guy is there to exploit it and to see if he can woo them with some free government hand-outs.

    February 9, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  22. Matthew, Detroit

    This is a bad bill. Let the economy fix itself.

    No more spending. No more taxes. Call your congressmen and say no.

    February 9, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  23. Tunstall

    America, this is in plain sight, "JIM CROW' at its best. I have seen so much hate in my life, America needs a physic, but nothing but death
    of the "Old White Men" will cure this deep seeded hatred. They will destroy America to keep a Black man "Down under him"and put the blame on none other than the Black Man.
    May God have mercy on all of you.

    February 9, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  24. Matthew, Detroit

    The guy is the premier cheerleader and politician.

    He is a lousy leader but a great evangelist.

    Old time religion... can I get an Amen.

    I will give you all free stuff and we will tax all those old rich white guys. Great plan Barack, great plan. You are a joke.

    February 9, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  25. NYC REPUB

    I have to answer a blogger by the name of Ian.... He asked where the money will come from to help pay for this stimulus......... To everyone, I will say wait. Have patience........ This president has an enormous job to do....... He will spend first, in his first 1 1/2 yrs. in office..... first on the stimulus, then on housing, finally on banks...... These are tough decisions........ After which he'll work on balancing the budget, the remainder of the administrations 1st term......... If he wins a second election, then I believe taxes will be raised across the board..... wealthiest in society paying a bit more than the rest...... I for one will not mind paying more taxes to curb the national debt, once we're out of this mess....... I must also note, that many economist say a stimulus is urgent...... This is why the Pres. is giving such a message of urgency...... I do believe he and his administration will handle the money right. Also I really believe, that if given the oppurtunity, Obama has vision for the future......It's amazing that the last dem elected pres. that got Indiana's vote was JFK..... Last but not least, Jean, there is still hope...... It never just came from one man.....We the people,the country, are a hopeful country.... If we keep faith in God first, and then work w/ our officials, there is nothing we can't accomplish.

    February 9, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
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