Government
11:58 pm
Tue December 6, 2011

President In Kansas Calls For Unified Economic Fix

For the second time in slightly more than a hundred years,  a current or  former  president  visited the  Kansas  town of Osawatomie. There were similarities, then and now. Inside Osawatomie  High School   gymnasium President Barack Obama encouraged his listeners,  cajoled  Congress  and  invoked  the   memory of  Theodore Roosevelt.  KCUR's  Dan  Verbeck  was there and  described hundreds waiting in line on  streets and sidewalks.

From  Mayors of the two Kansas Cities, Sly James and Joe Reardon at   the  front of the room,  to "Mrs. Kansas  United States"  Christy Dreiling   of Paola, Kansas  at the  very  back,  with some  12 hundred  people in between,   the President talked about jobs,  education  and   regulating  business and  banks. He  said for most Americans the basic  bargain that made this country great , that of hard work, stopped paying off, long  before the recession. He  talked about "  raging debate over the best way to restore growth and prosperity; balance and fairness." And the President  scolded Congress for  refusal to  raise  taxes on the wealthiest.  In his words,  " it's  wrong for Warren  Buffet's  secretary to pay a higher tax rate  than  Warren Buffet. And by the  way, Warren Buffet    agrees with me.  So do most  Americans.  And I know that many of our wealthiest  citizens would  agree to contribute  a little more  if it meant reducing the deficit."
The President  chided  those who would return to the old ways of doing  business, calling it  a 'kind of collective amnesia." He described  the philosophy as " we are better off when everyone is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules."  The  President  drew some of  his  most extended applause when he  said, of that premise, "They  are  wrong."

Mr. Obama  drew heavily on the 1910  Osawatomie   speech  by  Theodore Roosevelt as he   got set  for  a 1912 rerun at the White House, calling for  a New  Nationalism,  for  unity.  Quoting  Roosevelt  that " we will all go up or down together."

The Presidential party left Osawatomie  by mid  afternoon by air.  Most  homeward bound  drivers in the Kansas City  area  were unaware who was inside  the cluster of   large  and small helicopters   flying  overhead toward KCI Airport.