Obama to supporters: Don’t get complacent | NevadaAppeal.com

Obama to supporters: Don’t get complacent

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., speaks at a rally in Reno, Nev., Saturday, Oct. 25, 2008. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

RENO ” In his first speech after visiting his seriously ill grandmother in Hawaii, Barack Obama told an enthusiastic crowd that with less than two weeks to go until election day, they can’t afford to get complacent.

“We’re going to have to work and struggle and fight for every single one of those 10 days to move our country in a new direction,” he told a crowd police estimated at 11,000 in the Peccole Park, the baseball stadium at the University of Nevada, Reno.

“We can’t let up, and we won’t.”

The Democratic presidential nominee warned that, “in the final days of campaigns, the say anything, do anything politics too often takes over.”

He charged that all that negative campaigning is “aimed at keeping us from working together, aimed at stopping change.”

“McCain,” he said, “called me a socialist for suggesting that we focus on tax cuts, not for corporations and the wealthy, but for the middle class.

“In what may be the strangest twist of all, Senator McCain said I would somehow continue the Bush economic policies and that he, John McCain, would change them.

“I can take 10 more days of John McCain’s attacks, but the American people can’t take four more years of the same failed policies,” he said.

When he asked how many in the stadium had already voted, the vast majority of hands went up with a cheer.

Obama said Americans don’t want to listen to politicians attacking each other.

“You want to hear about how we’re going to attack the challenges facing middle-class families each and every day.”

He said the U.S. has lost 750,000 jobs in the past year, and unemployment in Nevada is up 30 percent.

“It’s getting harder and harder to make the mortgages, or fill up your gas tank or even keep the electricity on at the end of the month. At this rate, the question isn’t ‘Are you better off than you were four years ago?’ It’s ‘Are you better off than you were four

weeks ago?’.”

Obama’s speech was interrupted for about five minutes when the power to the stadium failed. When it finally came back on, he quipped: “I told you, folks are having trouble making their electricity bills.”

Saying Nevada has the nation’s highest foreclosure rate, he promised his administration would “move quickly to help people stay in their homes.”

“My opponent and I are both proposing tax cuts,” he said. “The difference is who’s getting them.”

He repeated his pledge that his tax cuts would benefit 98 percent of workers who make less than $250,000 a year ” “including plumbers.” He said McCain’s plan is the same as what President Bush did and would go instead to the wealthiest Americans. He said the average Fortune 500 CEO would get a $700,000 tax cut from McCain.

“John McCain forgets that, just a few years ago, he himself said those Bush tax cuts to the wealthy were irresponsible.”

Obama said his renewable energy plans would create five million new jobs during the next decade. He said more jobs would be created rebuilding the nation’s roads and bridges.

“If people ask how we’re going to pay for all of this, you tell them if we can spend $10 billion a month in Iraq, we can spend some of that money here in Nevada.”

Obama quoted a McCain spokesman as saying they don’t plan to invest in making college more affordable “because we can’t have a giveaway to every special interest.”

“Well, I don’t think the young people of America are a special interest. They are our future.”

He repeated his promises to fix the health-care system so everyone can get decent, affordable healthcare and to invest in early childhood education.

He said he would create a tax credit for companies that hire new employees in the U.S. and cut off breaks to company that ship jobs overseas. And he said he would help small businesses recover by eliminating capital gains taxes and giving them emergency loans to stay in business.

“If you stand with me, in 10 days I promise you we will win Nevada. We will win this election and then, you and I together, will change this country and change this world,” he concluded.

Obama left Reno after the speech for a similar event in Las Vegas.

– Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.