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Obama: Federal Stimulus Aided Elkhart Economic Rebound, Republicans Differ

J.D. Gray

President Barack Obama is shining a spotlight on Elkhart, Indiana – the first city he visited as president – calling it a symbol of America’s economic recovery.

Obama returned Wednesday with a message defends his legacy while laying the groundwork for a Democratic victory this fall.

When the president visited in 2009, unemployment was nearly 20 percent in the community that heavily relies on manufacturing and the recreational vehicle industry,

Seven years later, that rate is now below four percent. 

The president says his administration’s policies, including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus money and the Affordable Care Act, helped drive that recovery.

To continue that improvement, he says, voters in November must reject what he calls policies aimed at eliminating worker protections, kicking people off health insurance, and cutting taxes of the wealthiest Americans.

“Fortunately, there’s another path that leads to more jobs and higher wages and better benefits and a stronger safety net and a fairer tax code and a bigger voice for workers,” he says.

And while Obama lauded his administration’s accomplishments as reasons for that recovery, he also struck out at Republicans, and what he calls the “myths” they’ve been spreading.

“Middle class families have paid lower federal income tax rates during my presidency than during any other time since the 1950s,” he says. “That’s this big-spending, liberal, tax-and-spend Democrat.  That’s the truth. Look it up.”

Many of Obama’s remarks criticized the proposals of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, which the president says aren’t designed to help working class families.

“And the evidence of the last 30 years, not to mention common sense, should tell you that their answers to our challenges are no answers at all,” he says.

The Indiana Republican Party had its own message for Obama, saying his policies have raised family health care costs and saddled business owners with what it calls “crushing regulations.”   

And, Governor Mike Pence says the president shouldn’t take credit for Elkhart’s recovery. He says the city’s resurgence is in spite of the Obama administration’s policies.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.
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