Posted: August 30, 2007 5:56 PM
Obama Tackles National Issues in New Orleans; Foreign Policy Towards Iran
This week Sen. Barack Obama marked the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina with a visit to New Orleans and the announcement of his plan for further Gulf Coast recovery. On Sunday Obama spoke at the First Emanuel Baptist Church and then took a tour of New Orleans’ Gentilly neighborhood.
“From several residents, Mr. Obama heard about poor infrastructure and the slow pace of home rebuilding grants,” wrote Becky Bohrer of the New York Sun. “He walked past empty lots overgrown with weeds rising above his head and saw Federal Emergency Management Agency trailers and signs advertising services such as mold remediation.”
Obama also announced that as president, he would make the FEMA director report directly to him, create a “COPS for Katrina” program, rebuild schools, public transportation, and health care infrastructure, and overhaul the country’s National Response Plan, among other initiatives.
A campaign spokesman said that the senator has been spending the rest of the week on vacation with his family. Obama, however, still weighed in on several issues.
The senator also penned an Op-Ed published in the New York Daily News on Thursday in which he addressed the “challenge posed by Iran.”
“Iran’s troubling behavior depends in large part on access to billions of dollars in oil and gas revenue,” he wrote. “That is why I introduced the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act last May, to build on a movement across the country to divest from companies that do significant business with Iran. This would send a clear message about where America stands, increasing Iran’s isolation and hitting the Iranian regime where it hurts.”
Obama reacted to news earlier in the week that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, saying he was ‘pleased.’
“The President needs to nominate an Attorney General who will be the people’s lawyer, not the President’s lawyer, and in an Obama Administration that person will first and foremost defend and promote the rights and liberties enshrined in our Constitution,” he said.
And Obama criticized President Bush’s speech before the American Legion about the rationale for staying the course in Iraq.
“There is an eerie echo to the President’s words today. Five years ago, he made a misleading case to the American people that the trail to al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden somehow led through Iraq, and too many in Washington followed without asking the hard questions that should have been raised,” Obama said.
“Now we are dealing with the consequences of that failure of candor and judgment, and the President is using the politics of fear to continue a wrong-headed policy.”
Also this week, The Politico’s Mike Allen and John Harris reported that former Virginia Gov. Doug Wilder, who was the first African-American elected governor in United States, is getting ready to endorse Obama.
“The unstinting embrace by Wilder, now the mayor of Richmond, could be important in Virginia and other southern states, where his reputation still looms large and the African-American vote could prove decisive in the Democratic nominating contest,” they wrote.
Meanwhile, Ken Walsh of US News and World Report examined Obama’s years as a community organizer in Chicago.
“As a community organizer in the Altgeld Gardens public housing project in the mid-1980s, Obama, then 23, quickly emerged as a tireless and pragmatic advocate for the community-traits that characterize the kind of president he says he wants to be,” Walsh wrote.
And Perry Bacon, Jr. of The Washington Post profiled Obama’s Senate chief of staff, Pete Rouse in the paper’s occasional series on campaign operatives.
“[Rouse] seeks to burnish Obama’s still-modest credentials as a freshman senator while preventing the talented but inexperienced politician from making the kind of mistakes that have denied every senator since John F. Kennedy the presidency,” says Bacon.
Looking ahead, a campaign spokesman told The NewsHour that Obama is gearing up for several campaign trips to New Hampshire and Iowa after Labor Day.