CINCINNATI (AP) - President Barack Obama told thousands of
cheering union members and activists gathered at Cincinnati's Coney
Island park Monday that his economic recovery plan is working.
"We're on the road to recovery, Ohio, don't let anybody tell
you otherwise," said Obama, who took the stage as the sky cleared
following a morning that threatened rain.
Top AFL-CIO leaders and politicians were taking part in the
Labor Day annual picnic, and organizers said union locals handed
out some 10,000 tickets for access to the area where the president
"Across America, we've saved the jobs of tens of thousands of
state and local workers, including teachers and first responders
right here in Ohio," Obama said. "Don't take my word for it ask
folks right here in Ohio.
"We're rebuilding America's infrastructure, including
improvements to I-75 in Hamilton County - led by a local Cincinnati
Hamilton County Republican Party Chairman Alex Triantafilou said
in statement that Obama's policies are bankrupting the nation.
"The campaign-style event was designed to influence voters
during a period where his popularity is sinking as fast as any
president in modern memory," he said.
Among those on hand to hear directly from Obama about efforts to
overhaul health care was first-term U.S. Rep. Steve Driehaus of
Cincinnati. The Democrat said he wanted to be sure any changes will
help small businesses and the economy, cover as many people as
possible and protect those with pre-existing health conditions.
"I think there are elements that we can come together on,"
Driehaus said. "It's a matter of really buckling down now and
getting the job done."
Much of the crowd stood throughout Obama's speech, some holding
signs such as "Health care can't wait."
Obama plans to address to a joint session of congress about
health care on Wednesday, and on Monday he urged the crowd to tune
Obama supporter Dick Manoukian said he thinks the Wednesday
speech will give the president a chance to take control of the
health care debate.
"It's gotten out of hand," said the 68-year-old Cincinnati
resident. But he expressed concern that Obama will might to a
watered down plan to get passage.
The president's speech was moved inside to a music pavilion
because of the weather forecast.
Country music singer Kathy Mattea helped warm up the crowd
before he arrived.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)