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Obama addresses crowd at Harborside

February 10, 2009

An audience of 1,500 people greeted President Barack Obama with a sea of lofted cell phones and cameras as he entered the Harborside Event Center in Fort Myers today, as people clamored to capture a piece of Obama's speech.

Obama delivered a 20-minute speech emphasizing the need for a more than $800 billion economic stimulus package and how it will affect Southwest Florida residents, before taking questions from the audience.

"We cannot afford to wait. I believe in hope, but I also believe in action," Obama told the crowd.

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"We can't afford to posture and bicker and resort to the same failed ideas that got us into this mess in the first place," he added, prodding recalcitrant Republicans to support the stimulus package.

Republican Gov. Charlie Crist also embraced the bipartisan spirit advocated by Obama, and stressed how the stimulus could help Florida balance its budget and jump start infrastructure projects.

"We need to do this (pass the stimulus package) in a bipartisan way.

Helping the country should be about helping the country, not partisan politics," Crist said before introducing Obama.

In a moment of serendipity, Obama announced to the crowd that the Senate passed its $838 billion version of the stimulus plan. The news was met with raucous applause and chants of, "Yes we can!"

The vote came down 61-37, largely along partisan lines.

 
 

 

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