News / USA

Obama in Chicago: Help Me Finish the Job in 2012

President Barack Obama smiles as he points to his supporters at a DNC fundraising event at Navy Pier in Chicago, Thursday, April 14, 2011
President Barack Obama smiles as he points to his supporters at a DNC fundraising event at Navy Pier in Chicago, Thursday, April 14, 2011

President Barack Obama on Thursday used his home town of Chicago as the backdrop to formally kick off fundraising for his 2012 re-election campaign.   The president told supporters they need to help him "finish the job" he began when he was elected in 2008, and he fired some political shots at opposition Republicans.

Though he formally filed papers a week ago confirming his candidacy, and his major fiscal policy speech this week was in part a political speech, Obama returned to his home town for what amounted to the formal kick off his campaign.

President Obama appeared at three events, two at restaurants and another at the famous Navy Pier in Chicago, and supporters paid between $100 and $38,500 to hear him speak - money that was to flow to his re-election campaign.

At the largest event before about 2,300 people the president listed accomplishments during his first two years in office, including passage of health care reform and drawing down U.S. military operations in Iraq.

Pointing to unfinished work on issues such as climate change and immigration reform, he appealed to supporters to help him finish the job he began in 2008.

"We didn’t come here tonight just to pat ourselves on the back, we came here tonight because we know that for all the progress we have made we still have business to do," he said. "We are not finished.  And the only way we are going to finish is the same way we began this journey, and that is together."

As he spoke, back in Washington the House of Representatives and the Senate approved and sent to the president's desk legislation, the product of Obama's latest compromise with Republicans, that cuts current year spending by about $38 billion.

In Chicago, the president said Republican budget proposals would harm the economy and result in higher health care costs for the elderly.   He said there is a need to build on compromise, but not sacrifice key priorities.

"We can't compromise on our investments to grow, the investments we need to create jobs," he said.  "We have got to reform defense spending, we have got to reform health care spending, but we are not going to sacrifice our fundamental commitment that we make to one another through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, the safety net for our people."

His Chicago appearances came as the field of confirmed and likely Republican candidates for 2012 continued to grow. It now includes former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour.

In remarks to a Republican women's group in New Hampshire on Thursday, Barbour criticized the president on everything from his health care reform law to his 2012 budget, asserting Mr. Obama favors bigger and more expensive government.

"The Obama administration has limitless faith in unlimited government.  And the average American understands that bigger government means a smaller economy," he said.

On Capitol Hill on Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner said Republicans succeeded in fundamentally shifting the political debate, and criticized Obama for his opposition to any further extensions of Bush-era tax cuts.

"Raising taxes on the very people that we expect to invest in our economy and create jobs is the wrong move.  Washington does not have a revenue problem, Washington has a spending problem," he said.

Political analysts predict that President Obama may raise well over $1 billion, which would be a record, for his 2012 re-election campaign, exceeding the $774 million he brought in on the way to winning the White House in 2008.

Obama told supporters in Chicago that while his campaign is now in its early stages, he will be fully engaged in the 2012 race and "ready to go".   He will be ramping up his travel in coming weeks and months with additional trips to states that could determine whether he wins a second term as president.

You May Like

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs