Is this more pandering by Obama and the Democrats or does he really believe the stuff he says? (Tim)
Obama tries to pump up Pennsylvania
Fortune writer-reporter Jia Lynn Yang writes:
Barack Obama may not pump gas for his own motorcade. But he wants Pennsylvania to know that he too has noticed the rising prices.
“We are paying record prices,” Obama told a capacity crowd at the Dunmore Community Center Gymansium in Scranton last week. “I don’t have to tell you: $3.50 a gallon?” The crowd starts shouting back numbers: “$3.25! $3.55!” until the whole gym sounds like a cattle auction.
Obama stands in the middle listening, allowing the crowd to vent. He pauses. “A lot,” he says, to laughs. “Meanwhile, Exxon Mobil (XOM) made $11 billion last quarter.” Cue loud booing.
Throughout Pennsylvania, especially in economically depressed former mining towns such as Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, Obama has been sounding some John Edwards-like notes about the contrast between Americans who work hard and struggle to pay for gas, and the corporate titans who make millions in bonuses.
It’s a traditional message for Democrats - Hillary Clinton’s been using it for months - but Obama’s ratcheted up the volume lately, in part because of his audience. He has to connect withworking-class voters in order to beat Clinton, not just in the April 22 primary in Pennsylvania but in Indiana, North Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky, Montana, Oregon, and South Dakota, all states that are coming up between now and June 3. (Maybe not so much in Guam.)
So Obama has begun to weave lines like, “A CEO makes more money in 10 minutes than a worker makes in a whole year” into his stump speech. And Countrywide Financial Corp. (CFC) usually gets a mention too for awarding its CEO and president $19 million in bonuses after the mortgage lender’s sale to Bank of America.
Is the extra populist juice working? The latest polls in Pennsylvania, where Obama spent much of last week, show some gains. Quinnipiac shows Obama getting closer but still 9 points behind Clinton. Public Policy Polling has Obama creeping ahead of Clinton, though only by 2 points. Other polls have yet to come out corroborating his new lead.
As for what Obama will do exactly about gas prices, he does go out of his way to say that as president he won’t wave a magic wand that will instantly lower the cost. At a press conference staged at a gas station in Manheim, Pa., last week, he promised a three-pronged approach.
In the long term, Obama favors investing in fuel-efficient car technology and developing more alternative energy sources like cellulosic ethanol. In the short term, he wants to cut to the payroll tax for the working class, which he says will translate into $1,000 back per family.
And Exxon? You’ve been warned. Says Obama: “I think we can look at going after windfall profits in a serious way.”