In Florida,it is Recession (View from Obama Townhall, St. Petersburg, Aug 01 [UPDATED - fixed video]

Well, now we know.

At Barack Obama's Economic Security Townhall yesterday, the Senator held up Friday's St. Petersburg Times.  The front page tells the story:

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So, while the GOP tells us that things are just dandy, while John McCain insists that there has been great improvement in the last eight years - my state slides officially into the recession that was, according to the McCain campaign, a figment of our whiny imagination.

Senator Obama gave an extremely well received talk about the issues facing American, and specifically those facing Florida.  He talked about the failure of the FCAT tests (Florida's unfortunate nod to No Child Left Behind) and the responsibility parents have in their children's upbringing.  He talked about the dynamics of Florida's specific problems, from the property insurance which has quadrupled during the Bush administration to the thoughts of a National Catastrophic Fund.

An Iraq and Afghanistan veteran asked Senator Obama what his plan was to help those who had served the country.

"screening for every veteran for PTSD"

"electronic medical records for every veteran"

"zero tolerance for homeless veterans...they are the ones who have kept us free."

Prior to the meeting a group of protestors from Uhuru News (The "Online voice for the International African Revolution", and Hugo Chavez support group) voiced their disastisfaction with Obama's allegiance to the black community.

During Sen. Obama's introduction talk before the Q&A session, several of the protestors unfurled a banner and began to shout.  The crowd of largely African American attendees fired back with shouts of "do your homework!" and began chanting over them, but the Senator intervened and addressed the protestors.

The protestors were silent and when the Senator began taking questions he called on them and heard what they had to say.

Having been allowed to ask their question - and having each point refuted, the Senator clearly told them what their choices are, and what his position is:

"I may not have spoken out the way you may have wanted me to speak out, which is fine... that doesn't mean I am always going to frame them the way you guys want.  That gives you the option of voting for somebody else, it gives you the option of running for office yourself...  But the one thing I think is important is that we're respectfol towards each other, and what is true is that I believe that the only way we are going to solve our problems in this country is if all of us come together - black, white, hispanic, asian, native american, young,  old, disabled, gay straight - that I think has got to be our agenda."

The meeting continued peacfully and constructively.

The ability to deal with these protestors - without throwing them out, and without allowing them to take over - showed the kind of strong but inclusive leadership that has brought so many people together behind the Obama campaign.  Hopefully this leadership style will soon be in place in Washington and we can reverse the Divisiveness - and the fear that feeds it - and get back to addressing the issues of dissension and recession facing the nation.

-chris

Co-reporters Damien Blask (right) and Joe (left)

DSC07212

[UPDATED - added veteran, fixed typos, put my ugly mug on it]

Tags: Florida, obama, Protestors, Recession, St. Petersburg, townhall (all tags)

Comments

35 Comments

Re: In Florida,it is Recession (View from Obama To

Isn't it sad that dealing with protesters in a civil fashion is now the exception and not the norm?  Bush/McCain would have had them arrested and thrown out the minute they raised their voices.

by rfahey22 2008-08-02 08:26AM | 0 recs
Re: In Florida,it is Recession (View from Obama To

Bush's people would have never allowed them anywhere near the event. Neither would McCain's people.

by MS01 Indie 2008-08-02 08:30AM | 0 recs
Re: In Florida,it is Recession (View from Obama To

Good point.

by rfahey22 2008-08-02 08:44AM | 0 recs
Civil discourse, who woulda thunk it?

MccAin would have made a lame insult, Bush would have had the Storm Troopers in.

Obama talked to them.  Who ever knew that diplomacy and debate involved actually talking to people you disagree with?

-chris

by chrisblask 2008-08-02 08:31AM | 0 recs
Why aren't there TV ads in FLA

showing this headline  "but McCain's chief economic advisor says you are a bunch of winers, and it's only a mental recession in your head"

Where is that freakin TV ad?

Is Obama saving all the negative ads for after the convention?

Or does he actually believe that high school educated low information voters are someohow going to vote their interests?

by TarHeel 2008-08-02 08:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Why aren't there TV ads in FLA

Or does he actually believe that high school educated low information voters are someohow going to vote their interests?

I've been working on two people in my office, who fit in this category.  It's a hell of a lot of work, and so far, they just don't seem to get it.

It's like they are holding out for the "promise" that someday they could be rich, (lottery?), and they don't want to pay higher taxes when they get there.  They'll rattle off all these talking points on the "Death Tax," which will never matter to either of them.

I think that their brains have been baked in the Fox Noise oven for too long...

by Purple with Green Stipes and Pink Polka Dots Dem 2008-08-02 09:08AM | 0 recs
I worry Obama's

campaign has become too Top down.

also, in the past Axelrod is a one trick pony (with Edwards) he'd have one narrative but not a second one later.

Obama needs to blast that if you make under 250K you will not pay any more taxes than you currently do and in fact 95% of Americans will get a further tax cut....

obama's campaign is nuts to think independent voters will vote their own interests unless the campaign blasts it in their face.

by TarHeel 2008-08-02 10:24AM | 0 recs
Flat out just

say if you make under 250,000 you will not pay any more taxes of any kinds - income, capital gains, estate under Obama.  In fact if your a working family you would probably get a further tax cut...

by TarHeel 2008-08-02 10:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Why aren't there TV ads in FLA

Or does he actually believe that high school educated low information voters are someohow going to vote their interests?

So, anyone who didn't go to college is a moron and just too stupid to vote their own interests? I imagine you'll find it hard to convince people for whom you have such blatant contempt.

by Denny Crane 2008-08-02 10:05AM | 0 recs
good luck with sticking

your head in the sand.

If you'd rather ignore reality and books like What's the Matter with Kansas .. go ahead.

if you'd like to substitute "low information voters" into that category or "voters with needs" do that too ..

in either case Obama is going down a dangerous path if he is relying on the corporate media to present a fair and accurate portrayal to the voters.

he needs to mock and ridicule McCain with HUMOR constantly..  Where are Obama's Youtube Ads for free media?

McCain's "the one" is 1:14 seconds and is clearly only a free media ad, where's Obama?

don't complain to me when on the sunday shows they only  show McCain ads nationwide for free

by TarHeel 2008-08-02 10:27AM | 0 recs
You forget Obama tried the same thing with

Hillary's supporters at the Unity fest in New Hampshire! He called the cops on them to remove them from sight and send them down the road out of view!

by suzieg 2008-08-02 09:40AM | 0 recs
Re: You forget Obama tried the same thing with

Another BS claim by suzieg.

Hey, have you guys or gals that hang out in Flowbee's cesspool found Barky's "real" birth certificate yet? BTW, when is Flowbee going to release the "Whitey" tape?

You people really are pathetic.

by MS01 Indie 2008-08-02 10:10AM | 0 recs
How do you explain these then? especially the

one with the cop:

www.riverdaughter.wordpress.com/2008/07/ 02/obama-learns-from-bush-free-speech-ed ition/

by suzieg 2008-08-02 12:06PM | 0 recs
my keypad is sticking, here's the site again:

www.riverdaughter.wordpress.com/2008/07/ 02/obama-learns-from-bush-free-speech-ed ition/

by suzieg 2008-08-02 12:09PM | 0 recs
Re: How do you explain these then? especially the

I watched those videos. The cop told them they could go inside with their signs, but they couldn't take the boards that were attached to the signs.

by MS01 Indie 2008-08-02 12:19PM | 0 recs
Re: How do you explain these then? especially the

  So, a campaign staffer came out and politely tried to move the protesters out of the frakkin driveway?  The place where all the buses would be driving thru? Yah, that's the death of democracy, all right. How many good folks had their democratic rights trampled on in such a horrible fashion there, btw? I counted maybe 10-15. You got yourselves one hell of a groundswell, pal. That was pathetic, seriously.

by Kordo 2008-08-02 09:21PM | 0 recs
There's a difference

Those people were protesting, but also wanted to actually ask Obama a question. Did you guys want to ask Obama something or did you just want to call him an asshole and get thrown out?

by vcalzone 2008-08-02 10:19PM | 0 recs
Precisely

There are folks who want to discuss and folks who just want to stop discussion.  These Uhuru News folks - as much as I don't share their views - did manage to ask a question (mostly) listen to the replies and in the end allow others to speak as well.

As a counter example, I was at the Toronto version of the Rodney King riot (just shortly thereafter).  I was parking cars in Toronto with my Etheopian co-workers in the lot next to City Hall and had a hard time explaining to Solomon and Faraday why teenagers in Canada wearing $300 sneakers were driving downtown and paying $16 to park their parents' BMWs in our lot so they could protest the injustices they suffered (we happily made $5/hour).  I went over to City Hall to see if I could get a feeling for the whole thing and ended up standing on a raised flowerbed next to Dudley Laws (piece of crap human smuggler who had voted himself a Black Leader).  A white kid my niece went to school with (whose parents were both psychologists, who lived in a Tony house but slept on the streets and panhandled to be cool) marched by wearing a jean-jacket with "HATE" in sequins on it, carrying a sign and shouting/roaring unintelligibly.  The girls clustered up and cast furtive glances at the guys, the guys strode around acting macho and Political.

After shouting over the mayor who tried to address them, the crowd surged forward to smash the glass doors then marched off down Yonge Street (main street Toronto) to smash more windows.  A guy with his tie around his head like a headband said "I just want to fuck somebody up" as he swaggered past me, which pretty well summed up the entire thing.

It was boringly pathetic.

Sometimes people just want to emote, and sometimes there isn't even anything real behind that emoting.  In either case, shouting without end is the refuge of the tyrannical and excludes those who resort to it from the process of dealing with the issues of the rest of the world.

What I have seen of PUMA protestors in video and often in the blogosphere has typically fallen into that realm.  Is there a dialogue to be had, or do they just want to interrupt discourse?  If someone cannot enunciate their grievances, listen to responses to these, and engage in point-counterpoint human communication they cease to be protestors.

They become thugs.

-chris

by chrisblask 2008-08-03 04:47AM | 0 recs
Your quote is ironic, especially when we saw

Obama throw his 20yr spiritual mentor under the bus along with Pfleiger!

Rev Wright is coming out with his book in October, should be fun to watch what else he has to say on his promotional tour about being maligned for political ambition....

by suzieg 2008-08-02 12:16PM | 0 recs
^^ Sleeper Cell

by Al Rodgers 2008-08-02 12:51PM | 0 recs
Real classy, Troll

  Why don't you slither on back to McBush HQ, and tell them you've been outed. I'm sure they'll have another screen-name for you ASAP. It's about all they do have money for , I hear, hehe

by Kordo 2008-08-02 09:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Your quote is ironic, especially when we saw

Right, because Rev Wright is consistently crazy.
What Makes You So Strong? Sermons of Joy and Strength
Good News! Sermons of Hope For Today's Families
Tempted to Leave the Cross: Renewing the Call to Discipleship

What a nutjob!

by vcalzone 2008-08-02 10:25PM | 0 recs
Re: You forget Obama tried the same thing with

And your proof for this BS allegation? Did you find this on NoQuarter? Were they Hillary supporters, or just Repug strawmen sent to raise a ruckus? It's a shame there's no such thing as a compact, hand-held video recording device that all these "abused" clinton supporters could carry around to document these terrible events. Now, that would be a useful technology, huh?

Troll.

by Kordo 2008-08-02 09:14PM | 0 recs
So that headline could say...

"Its the economy stupid!" Right?

I don't know about other countries, but in this country some people can not see past their own wallet. Even if the core of the issues that have caused their economic woes are the issues that they will praise the repugs for. (war, terror. war, terror, massively corrupt government, etc, etc, etc.)

by kevin22262 2008-08-02 08:30AM | 0 recs
The two folks in front of me in line were

republicans.

"Were" being the operative word.  They both changed their registration to Democrat.

So I have I.

While I have hung on to my Independent status to date, the registration drive at the meeting (which, like every other aspect of the event) was so efficient I finally gave in and changed my registration in line.

I'm now a Democrat.  Again.  Let's see if we can not screw things up this time... :~)

-chris

by chrisblask 2008-08-02 08:39AM | 0 recs
Re: In Florida,it is Recession

Thanks for the original reporting.  It's the real life blood of this place.

by Purple with Green Stipes and Pink Polka Dots Dem 2008-08-02 09:00AM | 0 recs
Here are some comparisons

Of Florida to the National Economy, along with other swing states. Note that in 2004 Florida was growing at significantly above the national average, and it is now growing far below average.

The opportunity in Florida is bigger than people realize, in part because the economy there has been much hard hit than the restof the country (a complete reverse from 2004).

2000 2004 2007
Florida 4.0 5.4 0.0
Michigan 1.3 -1.0 -1.2
Ohio 1.0 2.3 .4
Pennsylvania 1.4 1.1 1.6
United States 3.7 3.5 2.0
by fladem 2008-08-02 09:35AM | 0 recs
You guys really should put out the Bat Signal

you are more than welcomed to apply this graphic

by Al Rodgers 2008-08-02 09:41AM | 0 recs
Quit whining!

And get off my lawn!!!

by Bush Bites 2008-08-02 10:17AM | 0 recs
Re: In Florida,it is Recession
Tarheel..
just wondering...
I am assuming you are active in someone's campaign.
(activist thinker that you are)
Who is the candidate and how are they handling this issue? (taxes)
by nogo postal 2008-08-02 01:25PM | 0 recs
Re: In Florida,it is Recession (View from Obama

HI Chris.  I have to tell you, I have never been more proud of Obama than I was at what I witenessed at this town hall.  He not only disarmed the hecklers, he addressed their issues and spoke to all America.  Thanks for posting this.

by ChitownDenny 2008-08-02 01:53PM | 0 recs
Agreed

You always have to worry how those things will go.  I've been heckled and handled it well, and not so (nothing like this, usually just the cranky uber-geek who wants to argue the quantum-mechanical aspects of infosec).  It can go south pretty quickly.

When you handle hecklers well, you give them enough room to say their bit, but keep them from driving everyone else insane.  This one was an A1 example of doing it right, and it bodes well.  You could feel the relief in the audience both when he managed them down during his speech and when he did the Q&A with them.

My favorite instance was a medium sized crowd (by my standards, maybe 100 folks) and one uber-geek who just wouldn't shut up even after I answered the second or third question.  I must have been a little punch-drunk tired because instead of answering the next snide question I said something like:

"You know, having people like you come to sessions like these in settings like this one is exactly what makes it worthwhile for people like me to come to places like this and have these kinds of discussions.  Next question?" and pointed to someone else.  The next attendee started into their question before anyone quite caught on, there was widespread relief-chuckling and the heckler sat down grumpily but didn't interrupt again.  That was probably the tipping-point in my heckler-management career.

It's a fine balance between showing appropriate respect for the heckler while doing the same for the rest of the audience who really didn't come to listen to heckling.  It is painful to watch someone implode on stage and a good audience appreciates a well-turned "and the horse you rode in on" when it's called for.

-chris

by chrisblask 2008-08-02 02:49PM | 0 recs
3 of your videos

are dead.

by kevin22262 2008-08-02 10:29PM | 0 recs
Re: 3 of your videos

They all work from here...

by chrisblask 2008-08-03 04:10AM | 0 recs
ahh! found and fixed

thanks.

by chrisblask 2008-08-03 05:32AM | 0 recs

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