Saturday, June 28, 2008

Contrast between GOP and Dem at Latino event jarring

Presumptive Nominee Obama praised
while Nominee McCain nearly jeered off stage by hecklers--akin to Vaudevillian tomato-throwing

There was a day-to-night contrast Saturday morning in Washington D.C. It was between the reception of Presumptive Presidential Nominee, Sen. Barack Obama (D_IL)during his address to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials and that of Presumptive Presidential Nominee Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), whose speech was marred by numerous hecklers and war protest chants.
The group of respected Latino leaders held a rally of sorts, cheering Obama onto the stage with thunderous, extended, standing ovations and chants of "O-ba-ma, O-ba-ma, O-ba-ma!"
It was easy to see who had captured the Latino, heart, mind and most importantly, vote.
Sen. Obama addressed the crowd in a Spanish phrase that drew another round of "Obama!" chants, so much so, the address much resembled his fiery rallies.
The audience fell silent at his request and looked to be listening intently to his every word.
McCain drew a standing ovation when, after the third interruption, he abruptly ended his speech. The third and fourth round of protesters were loudly escorted from the room. It was unclear if the audience cheered because he ended his speech or to shore up his confidence--because he appeared shaken, jarred and obviously embarrassed. McCain was encouraged by the audience to stay for the question and answer portion which was mostly protest-free--in that one audience member angry about alleged U.S.-based "war crimes," was mostly off microphone.
"Guerra" and other words in Spanish, was written on blood-colored fabric signs protesters carried. "
"Your silence is consent to war crimes," was repeated over and over as they were ushered out quickly. The label, "war criminal," not hero, was thrust at the Senator. These interruptions were four to five in number. McCain was nearly heckled off of the stage.
Members of the association asked questions about how the GOP can help working and Middle class Americans. McCain accused, "Congress of going on vacation while Americans were getting put out of their homes," in his response, adding a bill backing Federal Housing Authority-funded refinancing bill wasn't passed.
When asked about healthcare costs and availability he suggested a $5,000 across-the-board health care tax credit for those who cross state boarders to get less expensive healthcare. McCain essentially said it was better than nothing and help the small business owner.
McCain said he supported ridding education of "bad teachers" and competition in education (which sounds like voucher system) so that students can go to private school, like his children did.
McCain was praised for his support of the Colombian Free Trade Agreement. He said he was criticized by his party for his work on Iraq policy that was deemed "fragile but working," by the Senator.
He said he wants to improve unemployment insurance benefits and money for retraining through community colleges.
He admitted he wanted to become President to make future generations and service members proud of American involvement in Iraq.
As pointed out by Sen. Obama in his speech, the failed immigration policy both senators worked on together, would have addressed amnesty to three million illegals.

Obama pointed out that McCain walked away from the legislation saying he wouldn't vote for it when pressed by the GOP.
Instead he told the crowd that he has a "20-year history of dealing with border issues."
Obama made the point that no one is looking for government to solve all of its problems but the Latino community has been hit hard by the economy--and John McCain isn't offering the change they need to make it through.
"We cant shift, depending on our politics, to pursuing genuine solutions," he said.
His plan is to secure borders and find exploiters of immigrant labor and bring 12 million illegals to legal status.
Obama's response drew cheers a standing ovation and rhythmic clapping. He called his plan a pathway to leadership.
Obama said during his first 100 days in office he would increase border security, review current processes and said a "wall is
not a solution to the problem."
"Some barriers make sense," he said but improving patrol and the cooperation between federal and local authorities is better.
He said a crackdown on employers exploiting illegals is needed and a pathway to citizenship created. He is in favor of recognizing the break in law when immigrants cross illegally. He wants them to register, pay a fine, go to the back of line and learn English. He said over time, they can earn their citizenship.
He said there should be no bureaucracy of a 10 to 12 year wait or constantly increasing fees to apply for citizenship. He also said working with those Mexican and other economies so their citizens would consider staying.
Obama supports the Dream Act, where every child in America gets equal education, closing health disparity gaps between Whites, Blacks and Latinos and taking some of the Medicaid burden from the states for chronic illness care. He suggested a coalition form during the election to hold congress accountable.
"The HMO (health maintenance organizations) will continue to block reform in this area because they make significant money on it," Obama said.
Under his healthcare plan, there would be equality, in that everyone would buy healthcare from a pool and those who couldn't afford it would be subsidized. Obama said he would curb the high Latino drop-out rate by investing in early education, making sure teachers get the professional development and pay raises needed so that the burden of funding public schools isn't entirely shouldered by local government.
He said changing when standardized achievement dates are set will help teachers become more creative in the classroom and not held back by "teaching to the test." (These objectives move learning and education forward and constitutes the Change people seek.)
Obama said funding after-school and summer work programs for at-risk students, adding tutors, redesigning high school curriculum to reflect current needs within industry and investing in early childhood education will work to close the achievement gap.
"Government alone won't be able to do it," but it can help start notions of academic achievements early.
Obama said a $4,000 tuition credit every year makes community college essentially free but the money can be used to attend technical college or four-year university.
Mentioning Friday's panel discussion in Pittsburgh, he said if we don't educate effectively, our global economy will decline because of global competitiveness.
A question about the global economy drew Obama back to his days on the South Side of Chicago where he noticed most worked in a steel mill which allowed the American Dream to be in reach but cautioned that scenario is limited now due to automation and jobs being shipped away.
He said his five-point plan to make America competitive brings the answer and that, "getting trade policies right," helps.
"Trade agreements should be structured to reflect environmental protections and restructured to be good for U.S. workers and not just corporations."
Using solar panels and windmill energy and rebuilding the electric grid can create five million new jobs to the country and save energy.
Obama proposes $60 billion infrastructure improvement plan to build roads, improve infrastructure, waterways, locks, damns and levies.
"If we rebuild them, not only does it put people back to work it makes us competitive in the long term," the nominee said.
He said 10 percent of military forces are of Latino heritage, while 17 percent are used as frontline forces.
He wants to make sure activity in Iraq is ended responsibly and honorable. He said bringing one to two brigades home a month over 16months, is a solution.
"We have to work with Iraq factions and tell them to work together. Regional players like Iran and Syria need direct talks and applied incentives to gain cooperation.
He said the $10 to $12 billion spent in Iraq should be going to foreign aid in other countries which isn't wise.
He said make sure military personnel and veterans are treated with honor and respect is a priority.
He wants healthcare parity between Puerto Rico and the state's veteran hospitals. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder cases and mental health issues need to be addressed to stop homelessness among veterans.
Looking beyond winning the presidency Obama said changing the way America behaves is bottom up change.
"This election could come down to how many Latinos come out to vote," he said.
He said of the mortgage crisis is why unemployment is higher than national average because many Latinos were working in construction. He said stabilizing the housing market in part by the FHA negotiation with lenders so the at-risk borrower can stabilize with a 30 year mortgage. Obama said a crack down on predatory lending and better regulation of credit markets and bank operations is needed.
"Now is the time to provide addition tax stimulus. I'd like to
put a couple hundred dollars in pockets of Americans to offset food and fuel prices," he said along with a $1,000 tax credit.
Sen. Obama said Americans have "nothing to fear from today's immigrants," because they come here for hope, like his father did and they're going to enrich the country. He said no one should fear the country being overrun or, "create a servant class in our midst," but only recognize the humanity of immigrants. He said that is the idea of his campaign.

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