Obama Explains What ‘Country First’ Means to Him

By Natalie Gewargis

Sep 3, 2008 2:46pm

At a town hall meeting in New Philadelphia, Ohio, this afternoon, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., was asked about the "Country First" placards all over the GOP convention.

"Let’s understand what is going to be at stake in this election," Obama said. "John McCain’s campaign manager says it’s about personalities, and what he really means is he wants to make this campaign all about biography. And let me say this. I mean, being a POW for six years, it’s extraordinary, I mean, the courage and the resilience that John McCain showed, you know, nobody disputes that — we all honor it.  And we all admire it.

"But for me, and I think for you, the measure of the next president is how effectively is he going to help make your lives better?" Obama continued. "How well is he going to help create new jobs? Does he have any idea about what the new jobs of the future are going to be?  Does he have a sense of how we have to … reform our education system so every child has real opportunity?"

Obama continued in that vein, listing all sorts of domestic issues that need tackling, from health care to the deficit.

Finally, he wrapped it up, saying, "My definition of putting country first is making sure that we are safe, not hesitating to strike against our enemies.  But it also means making our economy strong, because ultimately, if our economy is strong, then our military will be strong, and we will be able to secure our homeland for many years to come."

- Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller

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