Local Politics

Obama makes sixth visit to N.C.

Posted October 19, 2008
Updated October 27, 2008

— Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama reached out to military families, defended his tax and economic policies, and urged his supporters to vote early during a rally at Fayetteville's Crown Coliseum Sunday afternoon.

"I am an Army wife, and I voted for Sen. Obama on the first day of early voting," Rhonda Quador said while introducing Obama in front of a crowd of 10,200 people. "And when I worry about the tough times, I go volunteer for the Obama campaign."

"This is a city and a state that knows what a soldier is," Obama said. He continued, saying that appreciation for military service extends beyond partisan politics.

"The men and women from Fayetteville and all across America who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and independents, but they have fought together and bled together, and some died together under the same proud flag," Obama said. "They have not served a Red America or a Blue America; they have served the United States of America."

The Democrat touted his endorsement this morning from Gen. Colin Powell, President George Bush's first secretary of state and the former joint chief of staff.

"This morning, a great soldier, statesman and American endorsed our campaign for change," Obama said. "I am beyond honored, I am humbled to have the support of Gen. Colin Powell."

Powell had expressed disappointment in the negative tone of McCain's campaign, his choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as a running mate and McCain's and Palin's decision to focus in the closing weeks of the contest on Obama's ties to 1960s-era radical William Ayers.

"I think we need a transformational figure. I think we need a president who is a generational change and that's why I'm supporting Barack Obama, not out of any lack of respect or admiration for Sen. John McCain," Powell said Sunday morning.

The News and Observer newspaper in Raleigh also endorsed Obama on Sunday.

In Fayetteville, Obama defended his tax and economic policies, answering charges that his Republican rival, John McCain, leveled during a rally in Concord Saturday.

"He and Gov. Palin have actually accused me of, get this, socialism," Obama said. "And you know why? Because I want to give a tax cut to the middle class. ... John McCain thinks that giving these Americans a break is socialism. Well, I call it opportunity, and there's nothing more American than that."

Obama said that small businesses would not be hurt and the vast majority of Americans would benefit from his proposal to raise taxes on those making more than $250,000 and lower them on those making less.

"If you make less than $250,000 .... you won't see your taxes increase one single dime. Not your payroll taxes, not your income taxes, not your capital gains taxes, nothing," Obama promised. "In the America I know, we don't just value wealth; we value the work and workers who create it."

The $700 billion financial bailout plan was "necessary" to keep credit flowing and avert layoffs, Obama said, but "an immediate rescue plan for the middle class" is needed "to rebuild this economy from the bottom up.'

To re-start the economy, Obama said that as president he would: give businesses tax credits for hiring American workers; eliminate capital gains taxes for and give emergency loans to small businesses; put a 3-month moratorium on foreclosures; create a Jobs and Growth fund to help state and local governments.

Obama proposed several ways for the government to promote job growth: investing $15 billion in renewable sources of energy annually, creating 5 million jobs in decade; and employing 2 million people in building infrastructure, including roads, schools and broadband Internet connections.

He stressed that achieving such goals would take common effort and sacrifice.

"I won’t pretend that any of this will come easy or without cost," Obama said. "We will all need to tighten our belts, we will all need to sacrifice and we will all need to pull our weight because now more than ever, we are all in this together."

Obama said that his supporters could take the first step to getting his campaign promises fulfilled.

"In North Carolina, starting today, you can early vote right here, and right now," Obama said. "If you like what you hear today, don't wait until Nov. 4 to vote. ... We want to get as many votes as possible, as early as possible."

Some people attending the Obama rally were the victims of tire slashing, police said. A total of 11 vehicles had slashed tires along Wilkes Road near the Crown Coliseum on Sunday, Debbie Tanna, a spokeswoman for the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office, said.

The North Carolina Republican Party criticized the Cumberland County Board of Elections for deciding on Friday to open two more voting sites on Sunday, marking the first time Sunday voting has been available in the county.

"It is a gross distortion of the voting process for the Democrat-controlled (board) to expand the number of early polling locations at the last minute to accommodate Senator Obama’s campaign rally," Linda Daves, the GOP's state chairwoman, said. "Their action makes the voting process an extension of a partisan political rally, and that is clearly inappropriate."

Before the rally, Obama ate lunch at Cape Fear BBQ & Chicken on Grove Street and then shook hands and spoke other diners. Restaurant workers said they knew ahead of time that Obama was coming, but the customers did not and were surprised and excited.

Obama's appearance came on the heels of a visit by McCain, in Concord Saturday – signs that North Carolina has become a battleground state in the presidential election.

Recent polls have shown Obama and McCain in a dead heat in a state that has not voted for a Democratic candidate in a presidential election in 32 years.

McCain has appeared at two North Carolina rallies in the past week, but Obama has visited the state the six times since the May primary. The candidates' running mates, Democrat Joe Biden and Republican Sarah Palin, have also made solo appearances.

In an interview with WRAL News on Sunday, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani talked about McCain's focus on battleground states, including North Carolina.

“We would make a terrible mistake if, as Republicans, we took North Carolina for granted. I think John McCain has got a message for people of North Carolina that will win North Carolina. By far the most experienced candidate, he’s the one who can handle crisis and problems we’ll be facing in the future, whether it’s economic or national security,” Giuliani said.

Giuliani said McCain should focus on his plans for the country from now until Election Day, instead of referring to his opponent.


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  • TechRescue Oct 22, 2008

    Has anyone noticed that most of the people whose "taxes will be reduced" are not paying taxes now? I guess the plan must be just to write them checks.....

  • stupiditydeservesnosympathy Oct 21, 2008

    Dr. Dataclerk

    Will you still vote for him after you have had to sell everything you own to pay his taxes or are you one of those people who doesn't work who will reap the "benefits" paid for by hard working americans like myself?

  • Dr. Dataclerk Oct 20, 2008

    early voting in nc - obama leading?

    Sounds good to me. :)

  • Dr. Dataclerk Oct 20, 2008

    Obama needs to give up NC he isnt going to win this state.

    I will be voting for him. Just knowing he is going to be YOUR president makes all the difference in the world. :) Oh, I am from NC and my vote will count. lol

  • Dr. Dataclerk Oct 20, 2008

    I want be voting for him Go McCain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Absolutely wrong choice. Go Obama Go. The right man for the right job.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Oct 20, 2008

    NOTE: Please be respectful others opinions.

  • mjjunk Oct 20, 2008

    "If you want more money, work harded. Get an advanced degree and increase your salary" - picsatexhibition

    I do have an advanced degree (in addition to a minor in economics), I work extremely hard, and also have been laid off of 5 jobs while BUSH was in office. This is because the economy has been fluctuating for the last 8 years that a Republican was in office. So when you ask me to vote for another Republican just so that corporate greed can put my job even further at risk because they need to make another buck at the end of the fiscal year - it puts a bitter taste in my mouth. I used to be a Republican, but the lack of empathy for your average worker has caused me to declare myself Independent.

  • rc4nc Oct 20, 2008

    I happen to think that things can get much worse than they are now in the US, economically speaking. In fact look around the world, we have it much better than anyone you can point to. Curious how the better Obama does in the polls the lower the stock market goes. He's promised to double the capital gains taxes. Mayhaps investors are asking themselves, cash out now? or wait and pay twice as much to Obama.

  • shep8851 Oct 20, 2008

    mjjunk: "those who dont"--referring to those who, though physically able, for some reason wont work. Redistribution of Wealth is a core belief of both Obama and the Democratic Party. Where else are they going to get the money if not taking it from those who do work???

  • destewart2 Oct 20, 2008

    Obama needs to give up NC he isnt going to win this state.