Obama talks economy in Wisconsin

June 30, 2010 (RACINE, Wis.)

The Racine Memorial Hall was a familiar venue for the president. He campaigned there during his historic run for the White House in 2008.

"I love Washington but I have to tell you, it's good to escape the heat and hot air," said Obama.

Obama then returned to a familiar political theme he used two years ago. The president blamed his predecessor for the recession and the current administration's Republican opponents in the Congress for resisting Obama's efforts aimed at economic recovery.

"They figured if we keep on saying no to everything and nothing gets done, then somehow people forget who got us into this mess in the first place and we'll get more votes in November," said Obama.

Despite recent improvement, Racine's 14.2 percent unemployment rate remains the second highest in Wisconsin.

"We need jobs here. We need to get people working. We need a lot of things," said Rita Salinas-Lonergan, Racine resident.

Many in the town hall audience had lined up overnight to get inside the auditorium. There were no audible hecklers among the 1,500 attendees who frequently applauded the president as he made his points.

"You have to give this man a chance to go ahead and try to recover from eight year Bush administration. You expect him to come in and just, you know, work magic. It takes time," said Edwards.

The president took off his coat and rolled up his sleeves for the question and answer portion of the program. He was never criticized or challenged by his interrogators as he defended his administration's spending to stimulate the economy.

"It put a brake on the collapse of the economy. We avoided a Great Depression. We are now growing again," said Obama.

Police corralled some demonstrators at the event. The president did not see them.

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