News / USA

    Obama Warns Against Voter Apathy in November Elections

    President Barack Obama shakes hands after speaking at a rally on the University of Wisconsin campus in Madison, 28 Sep 2010
    President Barack Obama shakes hands after speaking at a rally on the University of Wisconsin campus in Madison, 28 Sep 2010

    On his latest cross-country trip, with visits to four U.S. states, President Obama has ramped up his response to criticisms by opposition Republicans of his handling of the U.S. economy.  Mr. Obama is trying to re-energize the base of his Democratic party ahead of midterm congressional elections in November that could bring big gains for Republicans.

    President Obama worries that the traditional base of his party may not turn out in strength in November.  This is amid predictions by political analysts that Democratic losses could equal or be worse than those in 1994 when Republicans won back majority control of Congress under President Bill Clinton.

    At a boisterous rally at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Mr. Obama challenged those predictions, saying the stakes are too high for young Democratic voters and others to be apathetic or complacent.

    "We cannot sit this one out, we cannot let this country fall backwards because the rest of us didn't care enough to fight," said President Obama. "The stakes are too high for our country, and for your future, and I'm going to get out there and fight as hard as I can and I know you are too to make sure we keep moving forward."

    Under their "Pledge to America" unveiled recently, Republicans are calling for tax and spending cuts, federal government hiring freezes, and a repeal of President Obama's health care reform.  They assert that Obama policies have failed to create jobs and are driving the U.S. deeply into debt.

    On the floor of the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell repeated often-heard Republican's complaints about Mr. Obama's policies.

    "A budget that explodes the national debt, a trillion dollar stimulus that failed to hold unemployment down to the levels we were told it would, a health spending bill that is already leading to higher costs, and a raft of other bills that expand Washington's role in people's lives," said Mitch McConnell.

    Saying he knows times are tough for Americans,  President Obama appealed for a renewal of the enthusiasm that elected him president in 2008.

    "If everybody who fought for change in 2008 shows up to vote in 2010, we will win," said Mr. Obama. "We will win, the polls say the same thing, we will win."

    On this cross-country trip, the president has again used informal gatherings at family homes to drive home central points he wants Americans to remember when they vote in November.

    Earlier, in New Mexico, he answered questions ranging from the economy and education to immigration reform, spoke about Republican obstruction to his legislative goals.

    "This is the greatest country on earth and will continue to be the greatest country on earth, as long as we can go ahead and handle serious problems that we have instead of playing political games all the time," said Mr. Obama. "And when you look at the choices before you [between Democrats and Republicans] I think you have got to ask yourself who is offering serious answers."

    In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Mr. Obama said it would be "inexcusable...for any Democrat or progressive right now to stand on the sidelines" in the face of possible losses in November.

    Asked about this, and remarks by Vice President Joe Biden about "political whining" in the Democratic base, White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton said the main message is about profound changes if Democrats don't turn out to vote in November.

    Mr. Obama returns to Washington late Wednesday after stops in Iowa and Virginia, where he will hold additional informal conversations with Americans.

    Awaiting him will be a major though long expected transition in the White House as Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel prepares to announce his departure to run in the mayoral race in the U.S. city of Chicago.

    Staff changes are common at the mid-point of a president's first term, and there has already been turnover in Mr. Obama's economic team.  Emanuel's expected departure has triggered speculation about who will manage day-to-day affairs, as well as other potential job shifts in coming months.

    You May Like

    Candidates' Comments Fly Like New Hampshire Snowflakes

    Four days ahead of the country's first-in-the-nation Republican and Democratic party primary elections, surveys show the parties' contests tightening

    South Korea Says North Korea Moving Closer to Rocket Launch

    In phone call, US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping agree that Pyongyang's move would be 'provocative'

    Australian Commander: IS Changing Tactics

    Head of Australian forces in Middle East talks with VOA about training Iraqi troops, countering evolving Islamic State efforts and defeating extremism

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.