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Published: Saturday, 10/11/2008

Obama calls for haste with $700B bailout

BY TOM TROY
BLADE POLITICS WRITER

CHILLICOTHE, Ohio Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama yesterday sought to reach out to white, working-class voters in Appalachian Ohio at the same time he called on the Bush Administration to act with more dispatch to stem the crisis of confidence in the world economy.

Mr. Obama called for the public to be calm and for the Treasury Department to act quickly to start using the $700 billion in authority to loosen up credit markets.

'What they need to do is use the tools that they've got immediately,' Mr. Obama said in response to a question about panic selling. 'We've given them authority to capitalize the banks, we've given them the authority to buy up assets, we've given them the authority even to apply guarantees. The Fed is already using its authority on the commercial paper markets.

'The problem is that there's been a lack of coordination, a lack of marketing of what's being done, clarity so that the market understands these clear signals,' Mr. Obama said.

'My hope is over the weekend that package is being put together in a way that can really start making a difference.'

Newly added to his speech is a reference to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who took office in 1933, at the depths of the Great Depression.

'We have seen our share of hard times. The American story has never been about things coming easy,' Mr. Obama said. 'We remember that some of the most famous words ever spoken by an American came from a President who took office in a time of turmoil The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.'?'

Not only is Mr. Obama leading in new opinion polls in the critical battleground state of Ohio, but he's outspending his rival.

For the general election so far, Mr. Obama has outspent Mr. McCain $12.8 million to $10.7 million in Ohio, and the gap is widening, according to Evan Tracey, president of TNS Media Intelligence in Virginia, which tracks media spending by politicians.

He said on a recent day, Oct. 8, Mr. Obama outspent Mr. McCain $401,000 to $123,000.

'Obama's literally blocking out the sun,' Mr. Tracey said.

Toledo media have seen $2.5 million of that money, with 10,000 spots purchased in the general election so far.

Yesterday, Mr. Obama wrapped up a two-day bus trip that took him to Dayton, Cincinnati, Portsmouth, Chillicothe, and Columbus, speaking to a total of more than 50,000. He gave the same basic speech in each location, talking about the economic crisis, attacking his opponent, and laying key elements of his platform.

Mr. Obama and his campaign were to fly on to Philadelphia, with plans to fly

to Toledo Sunday night for the start of four days of preparing for the third and final presidential debate next Wednesday night.

In his remarks, Mr. Obama seemed to allude to the attacks coming from the campaign of Republican nominee Sen. John McCain about Mr. Obama's relationship with '60s radical Bill Ayers.

'It's easy to rile up a crowd by stoking anger and division. The American people aren't looking for someone who can divide this country they're looking for someone who can lead this country,' Mr. Obama said.

The scene of Mr. Obama speaking in front of the historic Ross County Courthouse yesterday, with American flags flying and a large crowd cheering, could have been a postcard.

Mr. Obama unveiled what he called a 'small business rescue plan' to offer disaster-style loans through the Small Business Administration and to offer tax incentives immediately to encourage new investments.

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, a native of southern Ohio who previously represented the area in Congress, urged listeners not to be deceived in the heat of the

campaign.

'Unfortunately, there are those who have tried to spread untruths about Barack Obama. Barack Obama is a good, Christian family man. The McCain-Palin campaign and unfortunately some of their followers would want you to be afraid of Barack Obama,' Mr. Strickland said.

Mr. Strickland also tried to assure sportsmen and hunters that Mr. Obama supports their Second Amendment right to own weapons.

After the speech in Columbus's Genoa Park, Mr. Obama paid an

unannounced visit to a meeting of 700 Obama volunteers, who erupted in prolonged cheers when Mr. Obama suddenly burst into the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

In Chillicothe, Mandy Mac Lachlan, 30, said she wants Mr. Obama elected to 'make sure my kids have health insurance and my grandkids have health insurance. I don't want the rich to keep getting richer with no concern for the middle class.'

Construction foreman Bruce Bennett, 52, of Pickaway County claimed, 'The Republicans killed the middle class. They're strangling us real hard. If you want to finish them off, just vote Republican.'

Contact Tom Troy at: 419-724-6058, or tomtroy@theblade.com.



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