Obama Continues Health Care Push with a Pitch to the Middle Class

Sep 15, 2009 2:51pm

ABC News' Yunji de Nies and Sunlen Miller report:

Promises of revitalizing the country’s middle class: It feels like the 2008 campaign all over again.

From the Factory floor to the AFL CIO convention, President Obama kept up his pitch to middle class Americans today with a speech in front of a friendly crowd today in Pittsburgh.

“You guys are making me blush,” Obama said to his labor supporter’s standing ovation, “I tell you what, you know, the White House is pretty nice, but there's nothing like being back in the house of labor.”

Obama said that despite those “folks who aren’t that friendly to me, or the union movement,” that his action on the recovery plan was helpful to labor.

“All in all, many middle-class families will see their incomes go up by about $3,000 because of the Recovery Act, helping them get back much of what they've lost due to this recession  So I know times are still tough for working people.  I know too many people are still looking for work or worried they'll be the next ones let go.  But the Recovery Act is making a difference.  We've stopped our economic freefall.  That's something everybody can agree on.”

The President said that he will grow the middle class even further by building a strong labor movement, with the creation of a Middle Class ask Force run by “that scrappy kid from Scranton,” Joe Biden.

Continuing his health care campaigning, the President said that the middle class can’t wait for reform and came armed with additional new statistics out today to prove just that.

 “A new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation was released today showing that family premiums rose more than 130 percent over the last ten years — three times faster than wages! They now average over $13,000 a year, the highest amount on record.”

The President said that this is why when labor unions are negotiating they are no longer negotiating for their salary – they are negotiating rather trying to keep the benefits they already have.

“That's not just the fault of the employer. It's the fault of a broken health-care system that's sucking up all the money. When are we going to stop it? When are we going to say enough is enough? How many more workers have to lose their coverage? How many more families have to go into the red for a sick loved one? How much longer are we going to have to wait? It can't wait!”

The President ended his remarks in a similar refrain from the campaign trail, “Are you fired up? Are you ready to go?”

-Yunji de Nies and Sunlen Miller

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