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Barack Obama Speaks at the University of Cincinnati HA-25-2-08

 

Barack Obama spoke at the 5/3 Arena Shoemaker Center at the University of Cincinnati at 2 pm. The audience arrived at noon to wait in two, quarter mile long, lines. Attendance was estimated at 12,000. Three bleachers were filled to capacity and the press focused on a stage in the northeast corner. A four-sided big screen television hung down from the center of the ceiling.

Ohio State Treasurer Richard Cordray got on stage and said, "I have a conviction that the election is not about the past. We have an opportunity for transformational change this election. We need a President to transcend the divide and transform America. That is what Obama will do. He started helping people find work in Illinois. As state Senator he got 150,000 people onto the health insurance rolls. When Barack Obama is in the White House we will have a future. As Ohio Treasurer I want that President to be Barack Obama".

Gineth Walker, a middle aged African American lady, said, "Barack Obama offers a strong commitment for working Americans. I've been a grocery worker and union member for 32 years. Obama has been fighting for the rights of workers for 25 years. He began in Chicago creating jobs and caring for children. Too many young Ohioans cannot a good paying job. Obama knows how to help working families. Let me welcome Mark Mallory".

Mark Mallory, Cincinnati's African American mayor, took the stage and said, "Good afternoon Cincinnati. Are you ready to work. Ready to improve this country. We have a special guest today who deserves a special Cincinnati welcome. Here is the situation. I am a superdelegate. Superdelegates are important in this process. Well I've been thinking. There are a lot of similarities between Barack's campaign for President and my campaign for Mayor. Barack motivates people. I have decided to give my endorsement to Barack Obama".

Barack Obama begins. "Thank you Cincinnati". First of all a long round of applause to your outstanding mayor. I also want to thank Gineth Walker and the President UC Nancy Zimpher, Board of Trustees, state officials and most importantly all the volunteers. We have a little business to attend to. There is early voting in Ohio. After the speech you can vote today. There will be buses to take you to the Board of Elections at 824 Broadway. We have extraordinary turnout everywhere we go. But Cincinnati doesn't want to be in the middle, we want the best turnout. Don't wait until March 4th, vote early.

I have been running for President for a little more than a year. I stood on the steps of the capitol where Abraham Lincoln once stood. People said you are a relatively young man. You can afford to wait. I'm running because of what Dr. King called, "the fierce urgency of now". I believe there is such a thing as too late. Our nation is at war. Everything we have fought for is slipping. Its harder to save, its harder to go to college. Our healthcare system fails to cover 47 million people. Education leaves millions behind. We cannot wait to end global warming or the war in Iraq.

When I decided to run I felt the people wanted politics that would lift them up. They wanted straight talk and honesty from their elected officials. I moved to Chicago after college. Thousands of workers had been laid off, communities had fallen on hard times. It taught me that ordinary people can do extraordinary things. It taught me the change doesn't happen from the top down but from the bottom up. If we could join together, the rich and poor, to challenge special interests, we would be fulfilled.

My faith in the American people has been vindicated. We want to turn the page, write a new chapter. People are more engaged in the political process than ever. I can't take all the credit. When you go to a polling place George W. Bush will not be on the ballot. My cousin Dick Cheney will not be on the ballot. A genealogical survey says we are directly related. We all want to be related to someone cool. We want to be something.

We have a lot of challenges. All the stories I hear are of hardship and struggle. I spoke with five women aged fifty to sixty about retirement security. They had to care for both their parents and college tuition of their children. One had gotten sick and had to withdraw from her 401k to pay the bills. All across the country people have the will to go to college but not the money and they have to take out $50-75,000 in loans. People don't expect government to solve all the problems but when you get sick there should be something there. We should be our brotherís keeper.

The war in Iraq has cost us dearly in blood and treasure. We are disillusioned. I want to roll up my sleeves and work to make life better but I need your help. If you are ready for change you can tell the lobbyists they will not run my campaign or my White House. We need to do something for the 47 million without health insurance. This is personal because my mother died of cancer. I remember her looking through insurance forms in the months before she died. If you don't have health insurance we will help, if you have health insurance we will lower your premiums by more than a thousand dollars. We will do this in my first term.

If you are ready for change we can restore vitality to the economy. I believe in entrepreneurship but when a CEO makes more in 10 minutes than a worker makes all year, when corporations go bankrupt and CEOs get golden parachutes but the workers get nothing, that is not right. We're taking away the tax breaks for companies that go overseas to promote American business. We are rolling back tax cuts. People who earned less than $75,000 will get around $1,000 back. I want to give every child an education. To compete we must have high standing. We are going green. I will raise fuel standards. We can't go on wasting our energy. I told the automakers in Detroit, "You've got to bring about change if your are to compete". If you are working in this country you should not be poor.

The next President must tell you not just what you want to hear, but what you need to know - the truth. As Commander in Chief, my prime duty will be keeping you safe. I will defend the United States. We must treat our veterans with honor and respect. We must use our military wisely. The war on Iraq was unwise. We spent billions even trillions that we could have used for our infrastructure. It has cost us more in injuries. That is why I will bring this war to an end. It's not enough to end the war. We must end the politics of fear. We need to rediscover the power of diplomacy. John F. Kennedy once said, "We must not negotiate out of fear, but we must not be afraid to negotiate"

We want everyone to say America is back. We need a President whom will uphold the laws and Constitution. I was born to a single teenage mother. They gave me love and hope. I wrote a book called the Audacity of Hope. Clinton often calls me naive, a hope monger, in my own words. Hope is looking for respite from hardship and going on to do something, ie. universal health care, clean energy, getting people to college not prison. We need to be better parents to instill excellence in our children. Imagining and fighting to do what did not seem possible before, that is hope. For those who hope for justice and freedom we will win precinct-by-precinct, county by county, state by state. If you work with me we will take this country. Thank you.

Obama for America www.barackobama.com