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Obama Demands Bailout in Major Address « The Washington Independent

RENO, Nev — Sen. Barack Obama doubled down in gambling country Tuesday, telling a morning rally at a university here that Congress must pass a bailout plan to tackle the financial problems that are “no longer just a Wall Street crisis, [but] an American crisis.”

“It’s the American economy that* needs *this rescue plan,” Obama told 12,000 millennials in a serious, impassioned tone.

For the first time, the Democratic presidential nominee explicitly hitched his ongoing argument about social change to the financial crisis, arguing that the nation must transcend its differences and unite behind the bailout.

It was his most dramatic economic address since the financial crisis began. In contrast to the parsing that passed for policy leadership at last week’s first presidential debate, Obama emphatically advocated an urgent bailout, regardless of public opinion or partisan squabbling.

“To the Democrats and Republicans who opposed this plan yesterday, I say – step up to the plate and do what’s right for this country,” he told the crowd packed into the quad at the University of Nevada at Reno.

Then Obama offered a new narrative, one that many Americans may resist: He cast the bailout as another historic American achievement — a challenging but invigorating opportunity to come together for the common good.

By now, such rhetoric is familiar to the public: Obama’s knack for fusing the language of (progressive) movement organizing with (conservative) American exceptionalism. Today, he took a risk by wrapping it around a deeply unpopular and complex measure that is widely seen as a sop for reckless elites. It was MLK meets CNBC.

Obama channeled FDR’s era — the fear of depression and the promise of a populist agenda — to recast the bailout as a working-class imperative:

It was the kind of grand, sprawling argument that Obama makes better than most politicians alive — whether you agree with him or not. Right now, most Americans don’t.

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