GRAND JUNCTION – Amidst a backdrop of Wall-Street jitters over the bankruptcy of 158-year-old Lehman Brothers, presidential candidate Barack Obama spoke to over 6,700 citizens gathered at the Cross Orchards Historic Site in Grand Junction at noon on Monday, Sept. 15.
Obama said that this latest development in the financial world is “as bad as anything we’ve ever seen…This is a serious, serious situation. We’ll have a lot of rebuilding to do. This turmoil is a major threat to our economy. There are too many folks in the U.S. and Washington D.C. who weren’t mending the store. This is the most serious financial condition since the Great Depression.”
Obama said that problems with U.S. financial institutions would not be addressed by Sen. McCain. “A few hours ago he said the fundamentals of the economy are still sound. I ask McCain what economy are you talking about? What’s more fundamental than knowing whether you’ll have a roof over your head at the end of the day?”
The Obama campaign was the first visit to Grand Junction in 60 years by a Democratic presidential candidate, the last time being when President Harry S. Truman campaigned there in 1948. Republican candidate Bob Dole spoke in Grand Junction in 1996.
Over 45 Ouray County Democrats made the journey to Grand Junction for the speech; those present also heard Colo. Governor Bill Ritter and U.S. Senator Ken Salazar make introductory remarks before Obama appeared.
In a presentation that lasted for over a half an hour, Obama pledged to end what he called the country’s “oil addiction” within 10 years, with a White House policy that would aggressively promote renewable energy including solar, wind and new biofuels, while also tapping natural gas reserves. He lauded Colorado for being at the “forefront of clean energy.”
Obama also promised to cut taxes for 95 percent of working families, and said that families earning $250,000 or less will not have their taxes changed.
Obama challenged Sen. McCain to define what he means by “change.” “Change isn’t about slogans; it’s about substance.” He said that if Sen. McCain “now wants to talk about who can bring change to Washington, then that’s a debate I’m happy to have.”
Obama stressed that he would never challenge McCain’s motives or patriotism, but did address McCain’s recent statement of putting corporate lobbyists “in their place.” “But he hasn’t explained why he put seven of them in charge of his campaign: lobbyists for the insurance industry and for the oil industry, and for Freddie Mac and foreign governments. And if you think those lobbyists are working day and night for John McCain just to put themselves out of business, then I’ve got a bridge to sell you in Alaska.”
Obama also stated that the policies of a McCain administration would parallel those of the current Bush administration, saying: “We know what the consequences are: a meltdown on Wall Street; millions without jobs or health care; pain at the pump. Enough.” After that statement, the audience erupted into cheers and applause, followed by chants of “Obama, Obama, Obama.”