Posted 7 months ago on Oct. 25, 2012, 8:12 a.m. EST by WSmith
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Sen. Sanders: Voters must Re-Elect Obama & defeat right-wing extremism
Independent senator makes pitch for Obama
By Suzanne Laurent
September 23, 2012 2:00 AM
PORTSMOUTH — The lower level of South Church was packed with an enthusiastic crowd as U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., rallied for the re-election of President Obama.
Sanders said he preferred the town meeting style of campaigning to the "negative ads and sound bites being thrown at people."
Before he spoke, two union representatives said a few words. Tom Hersey, business manager of Union 976 in Portsmouth, said one of the first things Mitt Romney would do is repeal the Davis-Bacon Act for prevailing wages on public works projects. Laborers from Union 976 dismantled the Memorial Bridge.
Karen Cusson, recording secretary of CWA Local 1400 for Verizon workers, said the thought of not having unions in this country "scares me." "Union members in your state are the middle class," she said.
Sanders said the union movement is a good thing for the entire country.
He then talked about jobs and the economy.
"When President Obama assumed the office four years ago from George W. Bush, the country was losing 700,000 jobs a month and the nation's financial system was on the verge of collapse," he said. "This is the result of greed on Wall Street. Millions lost homes, jobs and their life savings."
Sanders went on to list the differences between the two sides on just about everything: health care, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, women's issues and the environment.
"To deal with the deficit, (the Republicans) want to cut virtually every program that working families depend upon," he said.
But, he said, getting Obama re-elected would not be enough. "It is absolutely imperative that we defeat right-wing extremism," he said. "Second, we have to build an educated, politically informed movement to put pressure on the White House and say you have to worry about us and not just the guys on Wall Street."
Laurie McCray, vice president of the Portsmouth Democratic Committee, came to hear Sanders with her son Michael Nowak. Nowak is 23 and has Down syndrome.
"My son fully accepts personal responsibility," McCray said. "He does need Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid." She said he works three part-time jobs. "He's looking for a hand-up, not a hand-out," she said.
McCray said she grew up in Michigan when Mitt Romney's father, George, was governor.
"My parents and their friends would not vote for the Romney of today," she said. "I wish all Americans could have the wealth distribution and power of such a small group of those in Congress that are making decisions affecting all Americans."
Caroline French of Dover said Medicare and Social Security are not in jeopardy, as the Republicans "would have us believe." "The fear-mongering is shameless," she said.
Barbara and John Gregg of Portsmouth came to hear Sanders speak. "He has the right ideas," Barbara Gregg said. "We need to change the tax structure. The inequality of incomes is a big issue."
Lenore Patton of Hampton said there are a lot of issues important to her. "The Affordable Health Care Act has made a tremendous difference with me. I have a lot of health issues and Obama has done away with the lifetime limit on major surgeries," she said. "(The Republicans) also have to stop the war on women's health issues."
Younger people in the audience had concerns about women's rights like Aubrey Sambor, 31, of Portsmouth. She was accompanied by Ted Pennings, a 25-year-old software developer from Portsmouth.
"Health care and the economy are big issues for me right now," he said.