Obama message hits home | CraigDailyPress.com

Obama message hits home

Local Dems say speech an inspiring personal challenge

Mike Lawrence

— Thursday night at Invesco Field, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama outlined what he thinks government can do for Americans.

One Steamboat Springs resident said he was most inspired by what Americans can do for themselves.

“I liked the part about personal responsibility and that government isn’t responsible for those issues that are better dealt with by the family and in the home,” said Mark Fischer, who was one of more than 80,000 people at the event that, according to Nielsen ratings, drew a TV audience of 38 million.

“All of us need to deal with this,” Fischer said, referring to his opinion of the state of our nation.

While Obama described policy goals, including tax cuts for “95 percent of working families”; ending U.S. dependence on Middle East oil and investing $150 billion in alternative energy, both in the next 10 years; and ending capital gains taxes for some small businesses, the Illinois senator also stressed “the intellectual and moral strength” of individuals.

“Programs alone can’t replace parents,” Obama said, adding that the federal government, for example, can’t make parents turn off the television and get their children to finish homework.

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“He inspired the better angel in us,” Fischer said of Obama. “It was just an amazing opportunity to be present for a historic event.”

Seventeen-year-old Cassady Roberts, a student at The Lowell Whiteman School, also attended Thursday’s nomination speech. In addition to speeches from numerous politicians, military service members and American citizens from across the country, the festivities included fireworks and musical performances at a packed Invesco Field.

“I was just really happy to be a part of it,” said Roberts. “Even though it took us a long time to get in, it was totally worth it : (Obama’s) words are so inspiring to me.”

This week in Minneapolis, Republicans will look to fuel inspiration of their own – but one Colorado Republican acknowledged that their message, and the nomination of U.S. Sen. John McCain, might not resonate as loudly as Obama’s in the Centennial State.

State Rep. Al White, R-Hayden, said Friday that Denver’s hosting of the Democratic convention drew enhanced coverage by Colorado media that, in some markets, likely won’t be matched for the Republican convention.

“There was a whole lot of local focus – I think Colorado citizens got fairly well immersed in Democrat politics as a result of the convention being right here,” White said. “Regrettably, Colorado Republicans won’t get that same immersion.”

White, who has represented House District 57 at the state Capitol since 2000, faces former Steamboat Springs City Council President Ken Brenner this fall in a race for state Senate.

White said he did not think the emotion from the Democrats’ convention – or Obama’s “brief moment in the spotlight” – will impact political races across Colorado.

“I don’t think it bodes one way or the other for the ultimate outcome,” White said. “I think that will be based on the citizens’ decision.”

White said he spent some time in Denver last week, for business not involving the convention, and enjoyed the energy in the city.

“Just being downtown was exciting – I’ve never seen so many people on the 16th Street Mall in my life,” White said. “I think our turn will come in Minneapolis.”

– To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4233 or e-mail mlawrence@steamboatpilot.com