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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs