CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The following is a transcript of U.S. Sen. Barack Obama's telephone talk Monday, July 7, 2008, to supporters in Charlotte. It was provided provided by the Obama campaign and has been edited only for punctuation and spelling of common words.
Senator Obama: Hello, North Carolina. Well, listen guys, I'm so sorry that I'm not down there. We had a little glitch in our plane. It was nothing to worry about, although it gave the press some exciting things to write about, but everybody's safe and sound. We're in St. Louis. We can't get down there fast enough, and so I'm just heartbroken that I'm not going to get a chance to see you guys today. But I promise you we're going to be back down in Charlotte sometime soon.
In the meantime, I just wanted to make sure first of all that I thanked Sen. Kay Hagan, who's going to be an outstanding United States senator; Sen. Walter Dalton, who's running for lieutenant governor; Rep. Trisha Gotham, who I know isn't there but was really helpful putting the event together. I want to acknowledge Larry Kissle, who is running for the 8th Congressional District and will be an outstanding member of Congress; Joe Ford, Mecklenburg Democratic chair; Kevin Monroe and Pat Stanford, who have just been outstanding volunteers; and I especially want to thank Principal Anna (sic) Renferrow and the staff of James Martin Middle School, who have just been terrific in helping us set up this event. Finally, I want to make sure that I acknowledge Lieutenant Governor (sic) Bedford, who was going to be the next governor of North Carolina. She is running an outstanding race, and I think she's going to have a chance to address all of you before this thing is over.
When we planned this trip, we wanted to start off this week in a city that has seen wonderful economic growth over the last several years, as some of the finest people and the best-trained work force of any area in the country. But like the rest of the country is experienced some tough times. I don't need to tell all of you that times are tough. Everywhere I go all across the country and every time I visited North Carolina, I've heard the same story. I mean families who don't have health insurance for themselves and their children in some cases are at risk of financial bankruptcy if somebody in the family gets sick. I've talked to folks who are now seeing the cost of their commute double and that extra hundred dollars or two hundred dollars is now going to be the oil company’s means them having to cut back on savings for their kids or in some cases food that's put on the table.
All across North Carolina, people are concerned about jobs as the economy has slowed down. The fact that jobs continue to be shipped overseas, that plants are still being shut down, that we're now moving into a cycle where even if you keep your job, your wages and your income has made a flat line. And people are worried and scared of the prospects for the future. And the main message that I want to deliver today to all of you is that although we're going through tough times now, it is not inevitable that we continue these tough times. We're going to have to make some adjustment to globalize the economy. We've got to train our kids more effectively, make sure that they are getting the best education in the world, that they are able to afford college. We're going to have to make certain that we have a real energy policy, not gimmicks like the gas tax holiday that would not even save you $30 and would probably benefit the oil companies, but instead a long-term plan to raise fuel efficiencies standards on cars, develop the new generation of alternative fuels that are going to power this economy and create jobs all across North Carolina. There are, we're going to have to invest in our infrastructure, rebuilding our roads and our bridges, laying broadband lines throughout North Carolina, those are the long-term adjustments that we're going to have to make.
But in the short term, people need immediate relief. I wanted to say to you that help is on the way, because you know, my economic package is designed not only to lay the groundwork for long-term economic growth, but also to give people some immediate help, an energy rebated tax stimulus of several hundred dollars that would go back into the pockets of the people who really need it to offset the rising costs of food prices and costs of gas. A serious plan to help make sure that we're preventing (sic) forecloses and stabilizing the housing markets so we can get the economy back on track. Measures to make sure that people are protected from predatory lending practices, to make sure they are not bankrupt when they get sick, more assistance to parents who need to take time off to look after a lung.
There are a range of polices that are out there that I have been talking about over the last year to year-and-a-half, that would start helping people get back on their feet right now. Making sure that we have an affordable health care plan for every American, and that we are lowering the prices for people who don't have health care, making college more affordable with a $4,000 tuition credit for every student every year. These are all designed to make sure that those who are experiencing difficulty in this economy are able to get back on track, are able to get a firmer footing, not only for themselves but also for their children, because the central premise of this campaign has been that when the economy works for everyone. When it grows from the bottom up, that is not just good for individual Americans, it's also good for the economy as a whole. John McCain has a different philosophy. John McCain is decent and honorable man, but if you look at the essence at his economic policies, which are based on a large mass of tax cuts for corporations and wealthy individuals, only a quarter of those tax breaks going to the middle class.
In contrast to my tax plan that would be designed where 95 percent of beneficiaries are of tax breaks would go the middle class. What you see is just a difference of philosophy. John McCain wants to continue the same policies that George Bush made a cornerstone of his administration. They haven't worked. And the message that we need to spread all across North Carolina is that if you are satisfied with the way things are going now then you should vote for John McCain. If you think we need a fundamental change and that we have to grow this economy from the bottom up so that ordinary Americans can achieve the American dream and that we are building a better future for our kids, then we have got a clear choice in this election. And we've got a [inaudible].
So I want all of you (to) know in Northern Carolina we are going to be campaigning actively there, there's been a tradition of Democrats conceding the state before the battle is even joined that is not what is going to be happening this time now. We've got people on the ground we are going to be running ads I'm going to be campaigning there, because I think that North Carolina, like the rest of the country, is desperately looking for a different direction. And there looking for a sense of optimism and a sense of purpose, as we navigate through these difficult times to start putting this country back on the track of long-term economic growth. So, I thank all of you for being there. I'm so sorry, but I can't get the chance to see you guys in person and answer some questions. But like I said we are going to be back this slight glitch in our schedule and in the meantime I hope all of you are working as hard as you can on the ground, with not only the wonderful elected officials who are there today, but with our staff and our volunteer, to make sure that we are building the kind of movement for change that can't be stopped and that will bring us to victory in November. So, thank you very much, everybody. God bless you guys.