Obama addresses crowd, answers questions
An audience of 1,500 people greeted President Barack Obama with a sea
of lofted cell phones and cameras as he entered the Harborside Event
Center in Fort Myers today, as people clamored to capture a piece
of Obama’s speech.
Obama delivered a 20-minute speech emphasizing the need for a more
than $800 billion economic stimulus package and how it will affect
Southwest Florida residents, before taking questions from the audience.
“We cannot afford to wait. I believe in hope, but I also believe in
action,” Obama told the crowd.
“We can’t afford to posture and bicker and resort to the same failed ideas that got us into this mess in the first place,” he added, prodding recalcitrant Republicans to support the stimulus package.
Republican Gov. Charlie Crist also embraced the bipartisan spirit
advocated by Obama, and stressed how the stimulus could help Florida
balance its budget and jump start infrastructure projects.
“We need to do this (pass the stimulus package) in a bipartisan way.
Helping the country should be about helping the country, not partisan
politics,” Crist said before introducing Obama.
In a moment of serendipity, Obama announced to the crowd that the
Senate passed its $838 billion version of the stimulus plan. The
news was met with raucous applause and chants of, “Yes we can!”
The vote came down 61-37, largely along partisan lines.