Obama spoke for one and half hours in the Raleigh Town Hall meeting. Some bits and pieces:
-- Republicans can't govern, but they are very effective at campaigning
-- McCain is not only adopting GWB's policies, but he is also adopting his politics. And it works. It feeds into real cynicism about government. People say, "a plague on both your houses."
-- He can talk all he wants about Brittany and Paris, but I don't have time for that. My goal is to reestablish the bond between government and the people.
-- In answer to question by Mom of 3-year-old with Down's Sydrome: all children are the children of G-d and all are special... We need to recognize the gifts and talents that people with disabilities have. The federal government had a commitment to provide 40% of the costs for ADA services; under Bush they only provided 18%.
--In answer to an ex-offender who can't find a job: People make mistakes early in life and we need to give them the tools so they can have a second chance. But the most important thing is to keep them out of jail in the first place. Jr. high and high school is where kids take the wrong path. Parents have to parent. Fathers have to be fathers. Government can't do it all...
I support faith-based service organizations if they do their jobs well and don't discriminate based on religion.
-- In answer to a question about the politicization of science: GWB is anti science. He used his first veto (in 2006) to oppose stem cell research. During his administration the budget for basic research was flatlined. It has cut our edge. In the past, discovery and innovation have driven our economy. We need to double our funding for scientific research.
-- On energy: Intelligent drilling is OK, but we can't drill our way out of our energy problem. 2-3 months ago, John McCain wasn't for drilling. Then he met with a group of Texas oil millionaires.
We're not proposing to tax them more --only that we take away some of their tax breaks --breaks they didn't deserve in the first place.
-- In answer to a question about party unity: Divisions in the party have been hyped by the media. We are passionate about our candidates. That's what politics should be.
-- In answer to a questions about drug ads on TV: we see happy people with big smiles running through fields, but you don't know what most of the drugs are for --- except for one drug and you know what that one is for (joke). 16-17 members of the Bush adminstration who pushed against government's negotiation with drug companies have left -- to work for the pharmaceutical lobby.
-- In answer to a question about the problem of obesity: If we went back to the level of obesity we had in 1980, we would save our health care system $1 trillion. .. Throw your kids out of the house. And you go with them.
There was lots more --- compelling statistics, stories about his own childhood (the lack of a father in his home, his mother throwing him outside to play), listening -- really listening, answers that were personal and responsive, a coherent vision.
You really had to be there. Live makes a difference. The grace of his body movements. The confidence. The coolness. The intelligence flickering behind his eyes.
I'm re-energized and ready for Denver. Even if the North Carolina delegation is relegated to the "boonies" of Invesco Field on August 28th. I saw Obama up close and personal. I shook his hand.