Obama in Flint, MI

Update: Here’s the remarks live-blogged below as prepared for delivery. 

Hello everyone. I’m blogging from Flint, MI, where Obama will hold a town hall starting at 12EST. The town hall will be a big unity event–with some of our Congressional delegation (I’ve seen Dingell’s folks) and Governor Granholm joining Obama to unify the Democratic Party. This follows our State Central Committee meeting–which was held Saturday–at which the same message of unity was emphasized. Blue America-endorsed candidate Mark Schauer closed the meeting on Saturday with one such message of unity.

"We’ve got the best workers in the world right here in Michigan, but we need a president who will fight for fair trade polices and solve the health care crisis to make sure they can compete on a level playing field," said Schauer. "With Michigan Democrats working together this year, we can elect a president who will bring about the change our country needs and fix what’s broken in Washington. And next January, I’ll be the first Congressman in line to help hand him the toolbox."

As I understand it, the balance of our delegation was chosen on Saturday, based on the allocation that came out of the Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting on May 31. I’ve been told that Obama will announce (I believe he’s making that announcement to the big state press as we speak) that he will seat the full MI delegation in Denver, with full-strength vote.

I’ll update as fun things happen.

11:43 The crowds’ in their seats and are beginning to do the wave. The national media is showing up–one reason they’ve made this the Unity event in MI, rather than Obama’s big rally at Joe Louis "Home of the Stanley Cup Champions" Arena tonight is so it’ll get in today’s media cycle.

Oh, and for those worried, Kwame will not be attending any of the events today, so Detroit’s Boy Mayor will not be rubbing any of his bad karma off on our Presidential candidate.


Photo thanks to Todd Heywood of the Michigan Messenger, which is also liveblogging the event. Check out MM for pictures of the wingnuts protesting outside.

12:06 As I said, many of MI’s Democratic dignitaries are here: this picture shows Representative Dale Kildee, Governor Granholm, Senator Carl Levin, and Lieutenant Governor John Cherry is hiding next to Levin. I know Chairman and Mrs. Dingell are also here somewhere. I understand Levin will introduce Obama.

12:12 Carl Levin on stage now. Introduces Dale Kildee, John Dingell, Debbie Dingell, Lt Gov John Cherry, and Governor Granholm (lots of applause for her). Levin starts by repeating McCain’s statement claiming there has been great economic progress in the last seven years. Loud booing. Levin now listing the number of lost manufacturing jobs, gas prices, home foreclosures, unemployment, Americans with no health insurance, decreased purchasing power "That’s what John McCain calls ‘Great economic progress." Not in our book." Levin asks for hands who have had "great economic progress" in the last seven years.

12:21 Obama pays tribute to the dignitaries here, including his Flint Organizer and a Flint family he talked about to understand what he was going through.

12:30 It’s a fairly pro-Globalization speech here. "I have no doubt that American can compete in the 21st Century. … Success will depend on the dynamism and innovation of the American people. … We have the best workers on earth here in Flint, MI."

12:32 Talking about how it takes not just private sector innovation, but national leadership. Talking about the national efforts of Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt and John F Kennedey. "This was leadership that had the strength to turn moments of adversity into opportunity."

12: 33 Chants of Obama. Obama is talking about the things we could have done if we had invested in the infrastructure and education rather than spending it on the war.

12:39 We cannot be satisfied until every child in America has access to the same education.

12:43 If you commit to teach, America will pay for your college education.

12:48 John McCain opposes a 21st Century GI bill. I support it.

12:49 The second part of the competitiveness agenda: energy. [Incidentally, this speech really resonates with what Granhom talks about. Someone sitting next to me asked, "Did Granholm write this." I think this is a big part of the unity message–Obama’s hitting on all the issues that MI wanted to put to the forefront by moving its primary up.]

12:51 $150 billion to create wind/energy sector, will create 5 million jobs. The jobs will be created when we have quality hybrids rolling off the assembly line here in MI. We’ll use that money, particularly here in MI, convert to green technology. Unlike Bush, I won’t wait until the 6th year of my administration to sit down with the automakers.

12:53 Will end tax breaks to manufacturers that send jobs overseas. McCain has voted to keep tax incentives that move jobs overseas. We need to support iniatives like MI’s 21st Century Job Fund.

12:56 I’ve proposed exempting start-ups from capital gains. We’ll make the patent process more efficient and more reliable. We’ll make sure the next Goggle or Microsoft is started right here in America, right here in Flint MI.

12:57 We need to pass universal health care.

12:58 A commitment to 21st Century infrastructure. $60 billion dollar infrastructure investment over 10 years nearly 2 million new jobs.

12:59 Iraq needs to pay more of their share of rebuilding their economy.

1:00 Talks about high speed trains in the mid-West.

1:01 It is unacceptable that the country that invented the Internet we have fallen to 15th place in Broadband competition. If you can’t get broadband in Flint, you can’t compete.

1:03 I don’t think any trade agreement is a good trade agreement. If South Korea can import cars but we can’t export to South Korea. We need reciprocity.

1:05 Fiscal responsibility. I realize my agenda is ambitious, particularly after Bush ran up the national debt. The answer to our fiscal problems is not to continue to shortchange education, innovation, infrastructure. Instead we need to end the war in Iraq. We need to eliminate waste in existing programs. We need to charge polluters for greenhouse gases polluting our atmosphere. John McCain wants to double down on G Bush’s disastrous tax policies, not only by making permanent the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, but by adding more tax cuts. A quarter of the revenue would go to those making a quarter of a million dollars. Who here makes more than a quarter of a million dollars annually. My tax plan gives middle class three times the tax relief of John McCain’s. John McCain hasn’t detailed how he would pay for this giveaway. There is nothing fiscally conservative about that.

2:09 The American people are not the problem, they are the answer. We have a choice. Continue Bush status quo, as McCain wants to do. And we can become a country in which a few reap the benefit of the economy. That’s one course.

Or, we can rise again, if we choose to change, just imagine what we can do.

We can do this, because this is America–a country defined by determination and belief. Flint, this is our moment, this is our time.

73 replies
  1. BooRadley says:

    Only because you mentioned Dingell’s people (his committee on Energy and Commerce), were there, I thought I would raise the issue of Cheney’s Energy Task Force “Document Says Oil Chiefs Met With Cheney Task Force” By Dana Milbank and Justin Blum Wednesday, November 16, 2005; Page A01

    Last post you were talking about ways to obtain the Bush Cheney transcripts. Maybe Dingell could support that goal by reopening a “second front” on requesting the transcripts of Cheney’s Energy Task Force?

  2. Adie says:

    GOOD Morning indeed, Marcy.

    Yeah, you’re lucky to be there. So is he. I trust he knows all about your fine work. If not, remind him, respectfully of course. *g*

  3. timr says:

    umm how can Obama seat the Mi delegates with full vote?? Forgive my ignorance, but isn’t the democratic party-headed by Dr Dean- the only group who can change what the rules and bylaws committee did?? How does Obama figure into this at all??

    • emptywheel says:

      The Credentials Committee can choose to seat everyone–they have direct authority for making political decisions outside the rules established by the Rules and Bylaws Committee.

      So what Obama will basically be saying, as I understand it, is that he will tell the Credentials COmmittee (which, since he’s got a big delegate majority now, he has a majority on) to seat all of MI.

      I expect a similar announcement on FL’s delegation to be made–but I don’t know whether they’ve chosen all their remaining delegates. I suspect the timing of this announcement in MI is tied to our State Central Committee meeting on Saturday–that is, he was waiting until the delegation had the full outfit of 59 Obama delegates chosen (as I understand they were on Saturday) before he made the announcement.

  4. cbl2 says:

    Good Morning Emptywheel –

    I am calling Senator Obama out on FISA – and I want to post it over in Obamaworld – but would very much like to have some fdl eyes on it before I do – intentionally left it short and sweet but would like to make sure I didn’t miss anything wrt basic messaging



    • Petrocelli says:

      Well done !

      Please find 2 minutes to call Obama’s office and ask him to speak out forcefully against
      covering Cousin Cheney’s ass telecom immunity.

      Obama’s ph. no.: – 202.224.2854

      • cbl2 says:

        thanks! was starting to think I was getting the blogwhore shun

        outside of regularly calling both the campaign and his Senate office, writing LTE’s, it was one more way for this increasingly powerless citizen to get him to do something and do it yesterday.

        • Petrocelli says:

          If we can get a coupla thousand calls into his office, they will move it to the top of his agenda.

            • Petrocelli says:

              Thanks go to Jane, Christy, Marcy and the FDL Bloggers for driving this issue.

              The Blogs have to unite and fight this as many times as is necessary.

        • Petrocelli says:

          ((((( npb )))))

          That’s their standard line, I pressed them to get Obama to make a statement before the actual vote …

        • bmaz says:

          That is the best they would say? Call them back and tell them that is the weakest ass crap you have ever heard. That if Mr. Obama is really a leader, and really is for change, that he ought to quit talking about leading, and quit talking about changing things, and get off his high horse and butt and actually DO something to evidence that fact. This is a done deal, the Democratic leadership is not in the process of selling us out, they have already cut the deal and done it. Pelosi, Hoyer, Reid and Rockefeller are going to slam this through if Obama does not step up and put his foot down. Firmly. And saying that he “is on the record against it”, at this point, is the functional equivalent of voting “present”. He must be apprised of how important this is and that simply “being on the record” is not going to cut it. Mr. Obama is fond of analogies to JFK; well, it is time for his Profile in Courage.

    • MarieRoget says:


      And thanks as well, cbl2, for continuing to keep windcatpond open & available for those, umm, down times around here.

      Calling is good, faxing, too- Obama DC office fax (202) 228-4260

    • Leen says:

      thanks for reminding us. Will call again and remind others.

      Marcy so glad you are there. Doing the wave with Michigan Dems from Colorado.

      How can you think about Flint without thinking about Micheal Moore. Was up at Lake Michigan at Ottawa Beach at family cottage (been in family for 90 some years) last summer. Had not driven through that part of Michigan in a while.(Battlecreek) man they need some good paying jobs.

  5. Adie says:

    OT, unless the subject of Bush torture policy happens to come up today, Marcy:

    McClatchy Newspapers has a major headliner today on systematic abuse & torture of prisoners by coalition forces at Bagram prison in Afghanistan starting in 2001. Gitmo pales in comparison, according to the story.
    caution readers: graphic descriptions


  6. rxbusa says:

    Can someone give a link or a quick rundown on the key issues on the latest iteration of the FISA legislation to remind those of us who want to call or fax of the main points to make?

    forgetful me

    • Minnesotachuck says:

      FWIW, here is the body of what I wrote in the letters to my Congressman and Senators last week:

      I am writing on behalf of my wife and myself to urge you not to support the “compromise” legislation now in Congress for the modification of the FISA bill. This legislation, apparently engineered by Senator Bond of Missouri (R) and Congressman Hoyer of Maryland (D), does not meet the three vital criteria that will assure that the present and future administrations will be required by law to preserve the most basic protections of our Constitution and Bill of Rights. These criteria are:
      § Exclusivity – The final FISA law as amended must be the exclusive legal framework within which the government can place citizens of the United States under surveillance.
      § Minimization – The FISA law as amended must assure that when information is inadvertently obtained on US citizens during surveillance operations targeted on foreign entities and when said information is immaterial to the immediate purpose of surveillance, it shall be discarded within a time limit established by the law.
      § No immunity to civil liability – The FISA law must not immunize communications carriers to civil liability for violating citizens’ civil rights in the event that surveillance they performed in the past at the government’s behest was in violation to the law at that time, thus almost certainly assuring that the American people will never learn the details of this flagrant lawlessness.

      This last is especially important. There is compelling circumstantial evidence that the current administration massively violated the terms of the FISA law earlier in this decade, and it has so far thwarted all efforts of the citizens and members of Congress to learn the extent of these misdeeds. Because the carriers have almost certainly been indemnified by the government, the true purpose is to prevent the public from ever finding out. If the precedents of this administration’s past actions are allowed to stand without challenge, they pose a grave threat to the future of the freedoms and democratic government of the United States.

      The administration attempts to justify its actions as necessary for “War on Terror” against those who perpetrated the atrocities of September 11, 2001. As a couple whose daughter’s place of employment on that terrible day was One World Trade Center, we are enraged that the president chose to attack not only our freedoms, but also a country that was not involved in those events, instead of aggressively pursuing those who actually perpetrated them.

      Feel free to use it, and also if anyone believes my framing is badly off the mark don’t hesitate to comment.

      • Mauimom says:

        Yours is a lovely, moving letter, but as a former Congressional “staffie,” I can tell you that it’s the NUMBERS, not the content, that drives voting.

        So, pups, don’t worry about whether you can compose a “memorable” or “moving” communication. Just get on the phone or get to the fax machine, or send a postcard/letter with a simple, six or seven sentence communication.

        Demonstrate that you’re not a robot motivated by a master. Indicate that you reside in their state/district and follow their voting pattern.

        Then urge their resistance to immunity. That should do it.

    • emptywheel says:

      Obama has been talking about supporting investments in MI to green the auto indsutry. Since we’re within a few miles of one of GM’s big plants (yes, still open), I expect he’ll repeat those comments here.

      • Petrocelli says:

        I hope he refreshes everyone’s memory with the 80 MPG family sedan that came really close to fruition
        until OPEC Bush stole won the election in 2000.

        • ThingsComeUndone says:

          Imagine what they could do with that 80 MPG family sedan with 7 years worth of technology advances!

          • Petrocelli says:

            The Execs of Corporate America, with few exceptions have run those companies the way BushCo
            has run America – into the ground – and made off with lots of $$$ for their failure efforts …

            • ThingsComeUndone says:

              Yeah but thats money made off of leverage with $15 credit to ever $1 of actual assets and interest rates on loans kept abnormally low when you consider the risk in lending well any moron could make a bunch of money like Bear Stearns did and then go under like Bear when the market drops. Lehmen brothers might be next I hear.
              Bush’s base of economic elites is getting a tax payer funded bailout by the Fed who is keeping interest rates low which lowers the value of the dollar.

    • Loo Hoo. says:

      My brother put money down on an Apterra. They’re made in a neighboring town. Boys and toys, huh?

      • ThingsComeUndone says:

        Details Details I must drool over tech specs and inside auto industry info! Heck I think if theres enough information it merits a post for all the good my vote is worth.

  7. ThingsComeUndone says:

    Hey a ban on all Foreign cars that don’t get 40 MPG should be popular in Detroit after all why do we need foreign gas guzzlers?
    The profits from the drop in competition could be used to build the 80 MPG sedan, the Apterra car I don’t care but we need a better green car out there.

  8. cbl2 says:

    with all due respect to the junior Senator from Illinois – being “on record” is not gonna cut it.

    he can do the same thing with this issue as he did with lobbyist and pac money – give a very clear and public directive –

    Just Say No to Bush/Cheney lawlessness !

  9. bigbrother says:

    Here are some toll freee numbers to pass around to your email list Please give them a short text on FISA like no Immunity to corporate spies our rights given away set a bad precedent stealing all or electrocnic communication with our personal banking or business data is criminal. Rhese are to Washuington switchboard just ask for Senatoe Obama or anyone else you need tp talk to about the torture artcle on McClatchey.

    (800) 828 – 0498
    1 (800) 459 – 1887
    1 (800) 614 – 2803
    1 (866) 340 – 9281
    1 (866) 338 – 1015
    1 (877) 851 – 6437
    Have a nice day. And save a few budks your going to need them.

    • bluejeansntshirt says:

      Good job big brother. The top number has always served me well. Ten minutes on hold behind you patriot pups seemed to fly by.

    • demi says:

      A big thank you to bigbrother. I had that saved on my desktop on my now defunct laptop. Saved again.

  10. bigbrother says:

    Wow took 3 rings at the Capital switchboard and 2 at Senatoe Obama’s office. A very upbeat ladt answered the phone and listened and said she would oass on the request (That we need his leadership on the telecom immunity issue). Thanks to Petrocelli for the reminder.

    • Petrocelli says:

      When I called, I gave FDL’s site, Marcy & Christy’s name and told them they should know more about telecom immunity, which is just another way of covering Dick Cheney’s *ss …

  11. ThingsComeUndone says:

    150 billion to create wind/energy sector, will create 5 million jobs. The jobs will be created when we have quality hybrids rolling off the assembly line here in MI. We’ll use that money, particularly here in MI, convert to green technology. Unlike Bush, I won’t wait until the 6th year of my administration to sit down with the automakers.

    Yes Details!

  12. 4jkb4ia says:

    I would suggest calling Hillary’s office with the same spiel. These same Congresspeople on whose behalf Obama must take a stand are also superdelegates who have come out for him.

  13. 4jkb4ia says:

    The potential leverage of changing their minds is not so great now that Hillary has conceded, but it is there.

    • bmaz says:

      That is an outstanding thought. Clinton ought to get out on front of this too. she needs to be a leader, not just in getting Obama elected, but in the Congress and the country. Time to step up Hillary.

      • LisainManistee says:

        I really hope she gets to make both rallies… If I can’t be there when Al Gore endorses I at least want Marcy to be there for me.

        As long as you’re passing out hellicopters, send one my way please?

        We’re 5 hours away and I really want to see Al Gore endorse.

    • selise says:

      yes. just got the email. it begins:

      A few hours from now I will step on stage in Detroit, Michigan to announce my support for Senator Barack Obama. From now through Election Day, I intend to do whatever I can to make sure he is elected President of the United States.

      Over the next four years, we are going to face many difficult challenges — including bringing our troops home from Iraq, fixing our economy, and solving the climate crisis. Barack Obama is clearly the candidate best able to solve these problems and bring change to America.

      I’ve never asked members of AlGore.com to contribute to a political campaign before, but this moment and this election are too important to let pass without taking action.

      and it ends:

      LIVE TONIGHT — 8:30 p.m. EDT: Watch streaming video of Al Gore and Barack Obama at a rally in Detroit, Michigan:


  14. LisainManistee says:

    Are you going to be at the Joe tonight Marcy?

    I wish, wish, wish I could make it, but it’s already too late to get there in time; even if we left the minute we heard about it.

    Total bummer, ah well… I was there for the Edwards endorsement, so I’ll just have to make do with that I suppose.

  15. PetePierce says:

    Good to see ole Granholm putting the ole fists in the air after trying to steal Michigan disingenuously for Le Clintonista.

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