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Obama ends state visit with Beloit College stop

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Kayla Bunge
February 19, 2008
— He might be skinny, he said, but he’s tough.

Barack Obama came out fighting Monday night at Beloit College, the Democratic presidential candidate’s last campaign stop before polls opened today in Wisconsin.


“We are one day away from changing America right here in Wisconsin,” he said to a crowd of 3,000 at Flood Arena. “One day away. One day away.”


Obama said the country is at a pivotal point in its history and cannot afford to wait for change.


“The country is not working for us,” he said. “You see it in your own lives.”


The Illinois senator cited those who have been laid off because their jobs were shipped overseas, teachers who reach into their own pockets to buy classroom supplies because their schools are underfunded and young people who want to go to college but have to borrow thousands of dollars to do so.


To transform the country, we must work together, Obama said.


“But Beloit, I can’t do it by myself,” he said. “Change doesn’t happen from the top down; it happens from the bottom up. I need you to be ready to push for change.”


Obama outlined his plans to provide everyone access to health care equal to that of a member of Congress, to prevent the outsourcing of jobs and to make college more affordable by offering a tuition credit for students who perform community service.


He also said he wants to improve America’s standing in the world and end the war in Iraq.


“America’s back, and we are ready to lead,” Obama said.


He took a few minutes to debunk recent attacks by rival Hillary Clinton that he’s “a talker and not a doer.”


“Nobody knows better than I do that this requires work and some perspiration,” Obama said. “But I also know that every time I’ve been able to get something done and this country’s gotten something done, it’s because we were able to bring people together.


“And so sometimes, a speech can help people recognize what they have in common with each other.”


Clinton also has accused him of being a “hope monger,” and said that hope is nothing but a “bunch of empty words.”


But Obama said hope isn’t blind optimism.


“It’s not ignoring the challenges and difficulties that stand in our way,” he said. “I know how hard it’s going to be to change this country. If it was easy, we would have already done it.”


Obama said this is the moment when we stop settling.


“The world as it is is not the world as it has to be,” he said. “Beloit, this is our time. This is our moment.”


Obama spoke for about 40 minutes to an enthusiastic crowd before stepping down from the stage to shake hands with supporters.



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