The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

March 20, 2008

Obama decries Iraq war, addresses specific issues

Since the day he announced his candidacy some 15 months ago in Illinois, Sen. Barack Obama has been asked why he’s running for office now. Why not when he’s older?

“I’m not running on some long-held ambition,” he told a crowd of supporters Thursday evening in Beckley. “I decided to run because of what Dr. King called the ‘fierce urgency of now.’ I believe there’s such a thing as being too late, and that hour is almost upon us.”

Obama began his short speech making reference to the war in Iraq.

“We celebrate this week, or we mourn this week. We mark this week the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq, a war that has lasted now longer than World War I, World War II and the Civil War; a war that was originally estimated to cost us $50 to $60 billion, according to President Bush, but has now cost us over $600 billion, with no end in sight; a war that has cost of thousands of lives, thousands more injured and maimed, and a war that I believe has not made us more safe,” Obama said.

The Democratic hopeful also touched on other major issues of this campaign. Following are a few of the highlights.

-- Economy

“People are working harder just to get by. We’ve never paid more for gas at the pump. We’ve never paid more for electricity in our home. ... It’s harder to save and it’s harder to retire. And the worse part is it feels as if nobody in Washington is listening, and so people are losing their homes ... people who are fearful of their jobs being shipped overseas feel like nobody’s listening.”

Obama said he wants to raise minimum wage every year.

“If you work in this country, you should not be poor and that’s a goal I will set when I am president of the United States of America.”

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