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Obama discusses issues affecting working class during Newton visit

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama made his second stop in Newton Friday afternoon. Obama spoke to more than 150 people at the Newton YMCA. Jessica Lowe/Daily News
Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama made his second stop in Newton Friday afternoon. Obama spoke to more than 150 people at the Newton YMCA. Jessica Lowe/Daily News

By JESSICA LOWE NDN Staff Writer

With the final day of Maytag operations in Newton quickly approaching, presidential candidate Barack Obama took the opportunity Friday to discuss how he’d create and protect American jobs. “I want to make sure we are using the kinds of trade agreements with other countries that are fair to our workers,” said Obama prior to taking the floor Friday afternoon at the Newton YMCA. “... We’ve got to make the kind of economic strategies that can create new jobs and new industries.” Obama also discussed the recent announcement of a wind turbine company locating in Keokuk and the need for Iowa to be at the forefront of energy-related industries to create quality, good-paying jobs in the state. “Whether biodiesel or wind power, these jobs that decrease our dependency on foreign oil, they are jobs that aren’t going to be outsourced to other countries,” he said. During his speech to more than 150 people, Obama said he would fight for the men and women of Newton and all of the United States. “So the reason I’m running for president is that you need a president that is going to fight for you,” Obama told the crowd, “Someone who will go to the White House and say ‘I’m fighting for the people in Newton.’” Obama said as president he wants to change the health care system, make college affordable, improve the education system and protect the working class. “We shouldn’t be raising the minimum wage every 10 years, we should be raising it every year,” he said. “And I’d stop giving tax breaks to companies shipping jobs overseas.” Obama also spoke out against his opponents who say he does not have enough experience to lead the country. “There’s a couple of guys named Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld who had two of the longest resumes in Washington,” said Obama of them leading the country into the Iraq war. “So a long resume says nothing about character or who you are fighting for.” The Democratic presidential hopeful noted his stance against sending troops to Iraq from the beginning of the conflict and cited it shows he’s not afraid to stand up for what he believes. “I’ve got experience standing up for what’s right even though it’s not popular,” he said. “I don’t want to say what is popular. I want to say what I think is right and that’s something you should expect from the next president.” Before closing, Obama took questions from the audience and asked the crowd to caucus for him in January with a promise to listen to and fight for the American people. “I’m reminded every day of my life — if not by events then by my wife — that I am not a perfect man and I will not be a perfect president but I will always tell you where I stand,” Obama said. “I will always listen to you even if we disagree ... I will wake up every single day, like I said before, and think about how I can make your life a little better.” ———

On the net: www.barackobama.com

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