Monday, June 06, 2016

TOWN HALL - President Barack Obama

"Obama to highlight economic progress in NewsHour town hall" PBS NewsHour 5/31/2016

REMINDER:  Starting before President Obama was sworn in, he has had to deal with a block-everything-Obama Republican Party, which became a total blockage when Republicans (actually the Tea Party) gained control of the House.  So, how could anyone blame Obama for his plans not working?  It is the Republican Party, totally owned by Big-Money, that blocks any meaningful change for the poor or middle class.


SUMMARY:  Elkhart, Indiana, was one of the cities hit worst by the financial crisis in 2009 and was the first city President Obama visited after taking office, though the city remains deeply divided along partisan lines.  Obama will return to Elkhart Wednesday to review the city's economic progress and participate in an interview and town hall moderated by the NewsHour's Gwen Ifill.  John Yang reports.

JOHN YANG (NewsHour):  President Obama's trip to Elkhart, Indiana, tomorrow marks his fifth visit since he was a candidate in 2008.

In 2009, he went there to announce $170 million in federal stimulus money for Elkhart County.  Elkhart is a city of about 50,000 people that is known as the R.V. capital of the world, an industry on the rebound since cratering during the recession.

At its worst, unemployment reached 20 percent.  Now it's 3.8 percent.  Some give the President a certain amount of credit for that.

JERRY YOUNG, Elkhart Resident:  He's been doing as best as he could do.  It wasn't perfect when he got in.

PAM LAMBRIGHT, Elkhart Resident:  We have come a long way.  I think that the economy is fairly good now.  When it crashed in '08, it was like a ghost town around here.

JOHN YANG:  Ed Neufeldt knows that firsthand.  Laid off from his job in the R.V. industry in 2009, he now works four part-time jobs, including cleaning a doctor's office.  He's thankful there's enough work for him.

ED NEUFELDT, Elkhart Resident:  If you want a job in Elkhart County, there's a job.  You can find a job.  There's help wanted signs all over.  Elkhart's doing great.

JOHN YANG:  It's quite a contract to when we last met him in 2009, when his employer of 32 years closed.

ED NEUFELDT:  We were one of the bigger corporations.  I thought we would be one of the last to be around, but we weren't.

JOHN YANG:  Despite the recovery, Neufeldt says there's a big divide globally.  Republicans and Democrats can't get along.

ED NEUFELDT:  They're angry.  That's the reason so many people are voting for Donald Trump.  They want to see a change.  I guess they feel like government is just — is crooked.

In fact, with President Obama going to Elkhart tomorrow to make his case for an economic legacy, Neufeldt presents one of the challenges for the President and for the Democratic candidates who want to succeed it.  Neufeldt doesn't know who he will vote for in the fall.

Town Hall with President Obama in Elkhart, Indiana 6/1/2016 (full 57:04)

Shields and Brooks on Obama's NewsHour interview, presidential legacy 6/1/2016

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