By Aaron Blevins, 9/29/2011
President Makes Campaign Stop in West Hollywood
President Barack Obama visited West Hollywood on Monday, speaking at the House of Blues to garner additional support for his 2012 re-election campaign.
During his speech, Obama celebrated the successes of his first term, but said his vision for America has yet to be realized.
“This election is about whether everyone gets a fair shake and whether everyone does their fair share,” he said. “And that’s what I’ve been fighting for since I got to Washington.”
The majority of the president’s speech centered on the American Dream, which has become a nightmare for some people.
“The idea of America was captured by this notion that if you tried hard here you could always win — that you were only bound by the size of your dreams,” he said. “For the last decade, it felt like that bond, that contract we made with each other had been broken. That too many people were not being treated fairly. That the rules had changed.”
While the American economy and securities were becoming fragmented, politicians in Washington, D.C., did not act, and this culminated in the recession, Obama said. He said the crisis took years to create; therefore, it will take years to overcome.
“So yes, we’ve gone through hard times,” Obama said. “But the question is, where are we going to go next?”
He said the regulations and policies his administration has put into place over the last four years could be unraveled, allowing corporations to write their own rules and continuing tax breaks for those who don’t need it or weren’t asking for it. America could quit providing help to those in need, he said.
“That’s one vision of America,” the president said. “But that’s not the vision we fought for in 2008. It’s not the vision you believe in. It’s not the vision I believe in. And I am confident that is not the vision the rest of America believes in.”
Obama said opponents to his changes have offered no help. He referenced the auto industry, which was on the verge of collapse in 2008. Some believed that stepping in to help the industry was a waste of time.
“Well, we did it anyway,” Obama said. “We fixed it anyway, and today the American auto industry is stronger than ever.”
The same thing happened when the administration tried to pass Wall Street reforms, he said.
“The lobbyists and the special interests, they rounded up millions of dollars to fight us,” the president said. “But you know what, we did it anyway, because it was the right thing to do.”
He also touted alterations to the federal student loan program, healthcare reform and the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”.
More than anything, Obama called for support of his jobs bill, which focuses on putting Americans back to work. He said it involves revamping the country’s infrastructure, which had once made America an “economic superpower”.
“By the way, these are ideas that are traditionally Democrat and Republican ideas,” Obama said. “Republicans used to love to build stuff. I don’t know when they suddenly decided that was a Democratic idea.”
The jobs bill would put teachers back in the classroom, offer incentives to small businesses for new hires and promotions and allow military veterans to get back to work after being discharged, among other things, he said.
The president said opponents have asked how the bill would be funded. He said some waste has already been trimmed, and a half trillion dollars of additional cuts are expected.
“But we can’t just cut our way out of this problem. We’ve got to have some revenue. We’ve still got a long way to go. We’ve got a lot of work to do to make sure every American has a shot at success. That’s where I need your help. We’ve got short-term stuff we’ve got to do, and we have longer-term stuff we’ve got to do.”
Lastly, Obama defended the tax code reform he is proposing. Opponents had called the action “class warfare.”
“If asking a billionaire to pay the same tax rate as a plumber is class warfare, then sign me up,” he said. “The only warfare I’ve seen is against the middle class in this country.”
Generally, the audience in the packed House of Blues applauded Obama’s comments; however, one man was escorted out by authorities after screaming “Jesus Christ is the one and only Lord” and “Obama is the anti-Christ.” Also, several groups of protestors lined Sunset Boulevard for the president’s visit.
Prior to the president’s speech, rapper/singer B.o.B. performed, as did the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles. West Hollywood Mayor John Duran, a member of the chorus, introduced the group by telling a few jokes.
“Welcome to West Hollywood, where the women are strong and the men are pretty,” Duran said. He also referenced the city’s recent fur ban. “That also applies to the backs of the men in the audience,” Duran said.
Following the event, Obama traveled to the Fig & Olive restaurant on La Cienega, where another fundraiser was held. Approximately 100 residents stood in the streets to watch the motorcade go by. Earlier in the day, the president spoke in Silicon Valley.