“We can’t have national security and our economy held hostage by (Russian Prime Minister) Vladimir Putin and (Venezuela President) Hugo Chavez,” Obama said at a town hall meeting Tuesday night at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds.
Obama stressed that America cannot “drill our way out of the problem.”
“We’ve got to seize the moment. This is the time. It is serious. If we don’t handle this problem now, then $4 gas is going to look good,” Obama said.
Obama proposed investing $150 billion over the next ten years in scientific research into alternate energy forms, including solar, wind and biodiesel. He also encouraged more fuel-efficient vehicles.
“The potential for us to create millions of new jobs is there,” Obama said.
“I don’t intend to lose this election. He can talk all he wants about Britney (Spears) and Paris (Hilton), but I don’t have time for that mess,” Obama said.
Obama said he wants to focus on creating new jobs. He also wants to restore the relationship between government and citizens so both groups can “work together.”
Full funding for special education is also among the senator's goals.
“We are going to make sure the Iraqis are carrying their share,” Obama said.
Soldiers need to be screened for post-traumatic stress disorder and other problems when returning home from duty, Obama said. A better job of transitioning veterans to civilian life is needed, he said.
At the beginning of the event, Obama recognized elected officials in attendance, including Gov. Mike Easley and former Gov. Jim Hunt.
“It seems like good things happen to me in the Carolinas. I just like the Carolinas,” Obama said. “Something about me and the Carolinas, I just get on good with them.”
Obama also took time to joke about his time on the basketball court with the University of North Carolina during a campaign stop earlier this year.
McCain has added a full paid staff in North Carolina, but is not running television ads yet.
The Democratic National Convention opens in Denver next Monday. The GOP convention begins Sept. 1.