By Marianela Toledo | Watchdog.org
CHARLOTTE — Among the crowd at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, supporters of President Barack Obama were doing everything they could to cast the blame for a stagnant economy elsewhere.
“The economy will always be a roller coaster; you cannot blame any one person. Blame the weather instead,” said Hilda Wiltz, a Democratic delegate from Louisiana, a state recently devastated by Hurricane Isaac.
U.S. unemployment reached 8.3 percent in July, according to the latest data from the Department of Labor, and was a feature of sharp Republican attacks on the president at the GOP convention in Tampa last week.
The strongest criticism was reserved for President Barack Obama‘s $787 billion stimulus plan, which was signed in February 2009, just months after he took office. Because of these efforts, Wiltz believes, Obama is not the man to blame for the bad economy.
“The economy is not necessarily bad because of Barack Obama. We have to disconnect that thought. What we need to remember are the things he’s done while he’s been in office and what still remains to be done,” she told Watchdog.org as she waited for the launch of the Carolinafest on Monday, the inaugural event of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.
“It took eight years for George W. Bush to spoil everything and people expected Barack Obama to fix it all in a second,” said Kelly Jacobs of Mississippi as she prepared to join a Democratic rally on Labor Day.
“He is someone who cares about America, who cares that my children have health insurance. And that’s the president I want, someone who cares about things,” said Jacobs.
“My plan is to make those who aren’t registered to vote, do so and support the president,” expressed Funmalleyo Smallwood, a former New Orleans resident who just recently had his home destroyed by Hurricane Isaac.
Watchdog.org left messages for convention organizers to see if the issue of unemployment and the economy will be a key focus for speakers, but they have yet to return the calls.
In programs announced Monday and Tuesday, none of the sponsored tables with speakers are discussing the economy or unemployment. The majority were about the minority vote.
“We talk about unemployment. We believe that with 29 months of growth, we’ll stop the job losses,” said Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. “The stimulus was able to boost the economy and restore the automotive industry. Mayor Julian Castro (of San Antonio) will tell us all about that when he speaks.”
“We are not afraid to talk about unemployment. Senator Harry Reid (of Nevada) will talk about jobs, like the mayor of Jersey City and the governor of Massachusetts. They’ll tell us what really happened when Mitt Romney was in power,” Jackson Lee told Watchdog.org.
The latest Rasmussen survey found that 44 percent of respondents think that President Obama has had a poor performance on the economy.
The poll was conducted with 1,500 likely voters and has a margin of error of 3 percent from Sept. 1-3.
Contact Marianela Toledo at Toledo.Marianela@gmail.com
Florida Bureau Chief Yaël Ossowski translated this article.
Interviews with Democratic supporters and U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee: