Obama cites his agenda

2009-07-04 14:32

Washington - President Barack Obama sought to rally support for his domestic initiatives, while Senator John McCain called for Americans to support millions of Iranian election protesters.

The one-time presidential rivals both cited the spirit of the nation's founders in their US Independence Day radio and internet addresses on Saturday.

Obama said an "unyielding spirit is what defines us as Americans" and led people during the nation's history to explore the West, persevere during the Depression and build a robust industrial economy.

"That is the spirit we are called to show once more," Obama said. "We are facing an array of challenges on a scale unseen in our time. We are waging two wars. We are battling a deep recession. And our economy - and our nation itself - are endangered by festering problems we have kicked down the road for far too long: spiralling health care costs; inadequate schools; and a dependence on foreign oil."

He said the same spirit will be needed to deal with problems "we cannot defer any longer", citing several areas:

- Revamping the education system, demand more from teachers, parents and students and "build schools that prepare every child in America to outcompete any worker in the world".

- Overhauling the health care system "that is imposing crushing costs on families, businesses, large and small, and state and federal budgets".

- Making clean energy "the profitable kind of energy so that we can end our dependence on foreign oil and reclaim America's future".

The House narrowly passed Obama's energy bill, and Congress is developing legislation to overhaul the health care system, making care more affordable and providing coverage for millions of the uninsured.

McCain, an Arizona Republican, says the United States has a moral obligation to publicly denounce the Iranian government and support Iranians who feel cheated by the election.

"Today, we stand with the millions of Iranians who brave batons, imprisonment and gunfire to have their voices heard and their votes counted," McCain said. "They do not ask us to arm them or come to their assistance with anything other than public declarations of solidarity, and public denunciations of the tyrants who oppress them. We have a moral obligation to do so."

After quashing huge street demonstrations, Iran's leadership has been trying to erase any lingering doubts about the legitimacy of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by portraying the unrest as sparked by foreign meddling, not by public anger over the June 12 election, which the protesters said was fraudulent.

Obama has tried to balance being supportive of the protesters without giving the Iranian government more cause to crack down.

Republican lawmakers have pushed Obama to more forcefully denounce Iran's leadership. More than two weeks ago, the president issued his strongest statement against the actions of the Iranian regime. "No iron fist is strong enough to shut off the world from bearing witness to the peaceful pursuit of justice," Obama said at a news conference. He expressed doubt about the legitimacy of the national election.

While McCain on Saturday pushed for a more forceful international voice, Obama rallied support for his domestic programmes.

Obama said some critics of his programmes "would have us try what has already failed; who would defend the status quo".

But he said those critics need to remember history.

"They forget that we, as a people, did not get here by standing pat in a time of change," he said. "We did not get here by doing what was easy. That is not how a cluster of 13 colonies became the United States of America."

"We are not a people who fear the future. We are a people who make it," Obama said. "And on this July Fourth, we need to summon that spirit once more."

- AP

Read more on:    congress  |  independence day  |  john mccain  |  barack obama  |  clean energy  |  energy

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


The ANC's election claims examined - Report

In the run-up to the 7 May election, the ANC says it has a “good story to tell” about its performance over that period. This is the first of two reports evaluating key claims.


Latest elections multimedia

Watch what happened when we blindfolded Helen Zille and asked her to eat random things
13 days to elections - news you need to know
11 Julius Malema quotes you'll never forget
DA won't get 30% - Zille
  • Friday Newlands - 10:54 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    SLOW TRAFFIC on Wynberg Hill
  • Friday Cape Town - 09:50 AM
    Road name: N2 Westbound
    ROADWORKS - right lane closed at the Robert Sobukwe Road exit
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

24 hour sale- 30% off homeware & appliances

Today only get 30% off selected electric blankets, heaters, kettles, coffee machines & so much more. Offer expires midnight 25 April. While stocks last. Shop now!

Mother’s Day special offers!

Spoil mom with these awesome specials that will warm her heart. Shop now!

Twisp – the smoking alternative

Buy any 2 refills for R250 and save R149. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Mother’s Day specials on appliances

Browse our range of Mother’s Day appliances to spoil and pamper mom. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900

The Blackberry Bold Touch 9900 is as the name says...

From R3565.00

I'm shopping for:


Treat yourself to something beautiful. You tend to put so much energy in making everything around you work harmoniously, and...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.