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. Loyal Democrat in MD

    @ had it
    You can find out how any Representative or Senator voted by checking out
    Go Obama! We are behind you!!

    February 9, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  2. Charles the Spaniard

    Clinton left the office with 234 billion surplus, in 8 years Bush and his adminstration, had put this country in the worst recession since the depression and placed them in two wars.Yet the architects of this financial disaster are telling Americans, they are the people who can fix this economy. Amazingly enough, there are some Americans who believe it. Then again , John Stuart Mill was right
    "Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative".

    February 9, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  3. Griff

    He is just playing Games with these people. I am your Deliverer. Believe in me! But it is all Paper Promises... He has no Money...
    All the words he has said so far are Dreams... You save my Job and I will save your.. But it will not work... People don't do, what you want... They have their own priorties..

    February 9, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  4. Baze

    Sell baby sell, sell

    February 9, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  5. sandee in Portland

    When was the last time a sitting President actually did a town hall meeting and came face to face with the populace? This is a good thing. These people will let him know exactly what they are thinking; some will be in favor of the stimulus and some won't. This is called keeping in touch with the will of the people instead of holing up in the Oval Office and losing touch with people and their problems.

    Go Mr. President!

    February 9, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  6. Typical White Person

    He's traveling door-to-door to try and sell this thing? That ought to tell you something about it's quality.

    February 9, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  7. Gail

    The stinking – and they really smell of something bad at this point – Republicans are just obstructionist and stubborn because 1-they lost and 2-they are anything but bi-partisan. They just cannot accept that fact that Obama and the Democrats won this time around, last time around and next time around. The GOP is finished – unless of course they start behaving in an adult manner and get over their bigotry – because we all know that's what it's all about – the 'conservatives' are the biggest racists in this country and that is who the Republicans are – we all saw it with McShame and his pitbull. If you support that kind of thinking – you are part of the problem but of course you'd never actually admit that now – would you 'conservatives'?

    February 9, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  8. Gail

    The majority of the citizens of this County are absolutely behind Obama and his jobs creation program. I don't know what those GOP's senators are trying to accomplish when they say most people in this country have lost support for this plan -what they really mean is most Republicans don't support Obama. Because let me tell you CNN, most of this County is absolutely behind a program that will create jobs and the so-call pork and earmarks they bicker about is actual spending that will create jobs. Whaddaya think? The crumbling schools are gonna be rebuilt with tax cuts? The cities and states are gonna police themselves when law enforcement position dwindle? Do they think green energy is just gonna happen by cutting taxes for the Wealthy – capital gains, corporate and business tax cuts? We saw how well that’s worked over the last decade.

    February 9, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  9. Terry in NY

    Here's a thought, put some money in a bail out plan for infrastructure sure but give the balance to every taxpayer in the country in the form of a gift card for $20,000 with a use it or loose string attached and watch how fast it turns around our economy. The more we let Washington handle this the worse off we'll be.
    It'll take forever with there current plans for any benefit to hit hometown folks who desperately need it.

    February 9, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  10. John

    I watched President Obama give hie speech in Elkhart and also listened to Pat Bucannon critize the President for not addressing the RV industry where the local jobs were being lost. I think Mr Bucannon must not have listened very carefully since achieving a more diversify in our energy production could enable the re-emergence of the RV industry. The President also spoke of re-education for those workers which could help transform the RV industry by a transforming the "gas hog" rolling stock into a modern touring vehicle. The possibilities are there if one were to embrace change instead of clinging to the notion that giving rich people tax breaks will somehow magically create jobs by the so called trickle down theory. Like the President said, we tried that and it hasn't worked so, now it's time to try something new.

    February 9, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  11. Glenda

    I trust Obama to listen to experts, and use his intelligence to guide us. Where are the jobs and prosperity that should have been generated from the last 8 years of GOP policies? The GOP policies Do Not Align With ANY Economists suggestions for correction. They are misleading the american people for political gain. The GOP policies are the cause of this current crisises. Why would we want to continue their practices?

    February 9, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    @ Jackie, who said "You need to do your homework and educate yourself in how and when this whole mess started."

    Funny coming from someone who can't spell our president's name correctly. Hint: there's no apostrophe in it...you're just trying to make it look more foreign and scary.

    February 9, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  13. REF

    going to elkhart where they make rvs lets see it was obama that said we need to drill here to create jobs and keep cost lower on gas oh im sorry that was mccain obama was happy with 4 dollar a gallon gas it just happed to quick. seems like its a little silly to goe there when dems dont want us to drive or buy gas guzzlying rvs. only the majoriy of americans think drilling for our own oil is a good idea with creation of true wealth and jobs not obamas ideas

    February 9, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  14. Patrick

    Interesting how the media has forgotten that even though Obama defeated McCain in Indiana, Obama LOST to Clinton in the Indiana primary. His speech in Elkhart today is largely in front of Democratic party supporters and UAW union workers – not in front of a regular contingent of unemployed Elkhart County citizens who are predominantly Republican. It's the usual story of a staged & Stacked town hall meeting that the Democrats used during the 2008 campaign. The Democrats have destroyed the RV business with their luxury taxes since the Clinton days. Many people in Elkhart seem to think Obama is going to hand out thousand-dollar stimulus checks. Boy, will they be disappointed.

    February 9, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |

    Dear worried democrat, i know you're uneasy about talking about this much money......... Let me first tell you that most economist beleive this stimulus package runs the risk of being to small to help the economy..... America has a GDP of 15 trillion dollars.... that's how much we're worth..... they believe in this type of world recession the gov't. if they spend should spend at least 3 trillion-5 trillion to even out the monies missed last year, 2009, and 2010...... People like Kramer from MadMoney and others believe this is the way to tackle this issue...... My point is this..... After TARP, the stim package, the next bank bailout, and dealing w/ housing, we will have spent exactly that much....... we must think big.... big decisions on fixing this mess, big decisions on fixing the budget, after this mess. We don't live in JFK, or Ronald Reagans' world any longer..... We have entered fresh bold territory.... Trust me.... Obama would not spend this much..... and risk his re-election, if he didn't personally beleive, and know what was really going on. The info. we aren't privy to see....... That's why one thing I did agree w/ W.Bush on, was his request for tarp funds....we have seen what callasped, and the unemployment rate, but w/o those funds... Who knows where we would be... It was congress, who made a bill while nervous(remember the stock market was crashing)should have put many thought out stipulations on that TARP money......along w/ a money trail......I think this administration will give much more detail.

    February 9, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  16. Jackie in Dallas

    Thank goodness, President Obama is going to the roots of his Presidency. He needs to know that the majority of Americans are behind him.

    What we see is the Republicans forcing the cutting of important, yet relatively inexpensive programs, like $98 million for school nutrition, and $50 million for NASA, and there is still no guarantee that they will vote for it. Some of our most stunning achievements have been made by NASA on relatively minisule budgets - and it is SUCH a good idea in this depression to cut spending on school nutrition!

    Sad state of affairs when people like McCain, who DO know better, are willing to be obstructionistic rather than work with the President - but then, how does a man who has all the money he could possibly want understand what it is like to live on $15,000 a year - he spends that much a month just maintaining all his cars!

    February 9, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  17. Glenda

    I trust Obama to listen to experts, and use his intelligence to guide us. Where are the jobs and prosperity that should have been generated from the last 8 years of GOP policies? The GOP policies Do Not Align With ANY Economists suggestions for correction. They are misleading the american people for political gain. The GOP policies are the cause of this current crisises. Why would we want to continue their practices?

    February 9, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  18. Bridget

    Bush and the GOP house and senate presented P. Obama with a trillion dollar deficit, unemployment rate highest since the early 80s, the most foreclosures in the history of the country, the biggest loss of retirement and 401 savings in the history or this country and two wars. I can't believe after the mess they created and left for P. O, they have the galled to try to set stipulation on the stimulus plan and are whining and criticizing a bill most based on their own words haven't bothered to read.

    Obama's staff had the best economisfs from across the country, educators, cfo's, ceo, and a nobel prize winner to get together look at the mess we're in and devise a stimulus plan that will work.

    If the best our country has to offer is wrong;don't tell me the same group of people who got us in this mess are smarter, brighter and knows better than the best.

    February 9, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  19. ray

    hello red necks on the right, bush f,,,,,,,,,,,,,this country up and , trillions of dollars on iraq which was a lie and now the money we need here you morons are against it, wowo i wish you republicans burn in hell sooner than any later because this country is been hijacked by you morons on the right.

    February 9, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  20. Typical White Person

    yea February 9th, 2009 11:07 am ET

    Some of you people are idiots. Just like saying, "I don't want to borrow money to go to college because I will be in debt when I graduate." You are borrowing money to make a better future for yourself.

    Or, you could work a couple of years, save up, and then go. Or, you could work during the day and go to school at night and on weekends. Or, your parents could have been saving for you while you were growing up.

    See, there are lots of alternatives that still allow you to have that "better life" without going into debt. You just have to be patient and delay the gratification and actually work for it before you get it.

    Which explains why a liberal Democrat would never think to do any of these things.

    February 9, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  21. TONY


    February 9, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  22. sngeorgia

    The President has explained the engine for this stimulus plan. He has explained how it works short and long term. This plan is not a one "hitter", but he's looking ahead to the future.

    February 9, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  23. beverly

    CNN have some repect for PRESIDENT, he earned the honor and the repect to be called PRESIDENT OBAMA.- NOT OBAMA. PAST PRESIDENT WERE GIVEN THAT REPECT AND I SUGGEST YOU DO THE SAME FOR HIM

    February 9, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
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