Saturday, July 21, 2007

"Obama: Big business, lobbyists blocking change"

Boston Globe:
HAMPTON, NH -- Health insurers block progress toward universal health care. Big Oil corrupts our energy policy. Banks and lenders make money on the backs of college students forced to repay huge loans. Agribusiness benefits from government subsidies at the expense of small farms.

This was Barack Obama's populist message this morning at the Adeline C. Marston Elementary School here, one of three public campaign stops in the last two days in New Hampshire. To Republicans, casting business as an enemy of change may sound like a tired trope of the left. But Obama laid the blame for inertia on health care, energy independence, and other issues squarely at the feet of select industries and their lobbyists.

On health insurance, for example, Obama repeated his pledge to sign a universal health care bill by the end of his first term, saying, "I shouldn't have better health insurance than you since you're paying the bill for my health insurance."

"Every four years somebody promises to fix this and it doesn't get fixed," he continued. "And the reason is because HMOs, drug companies, and insurance companies are doing very well under the status quo, and they will fight to block change. And we've got to overcome that resistance."

At this morning's event, which Obama's campaign said drew around 600 people, the Illinois senator also criticized Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, vowing to appoint an attorney general who Obama said would represent the people, not him. And he again called for diverting the billions being spent every month in Iraq to domestic programs, such as broadband network expansions and other infrastructure improvements in rural areas.

"I still can't get a cell phone signal when I'm driving through New Hampshire," he said. "How can you do business when you can't get a cell phone signal?"



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