Obama touts ‘meaningful’ change in American life

By Agence France-Presse
Thursday, December 23, 2010 17:06 EDT
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HONOLULU, Hawaii — US President Barack Obama told supporters as he began his Christmas vacation in Hawaii Thursday that they had helped him forge “real and meaningful” change in the lives of Americans.

Obama, who left Washington for his native state late Wednesday, directed supporters to a website, offering a district-by-district breakdown of jobs created, health care provided, and middle class tax cuts enacted.

“The reforms that we fought long and hard for are not talking points,” Obama said in the Christmas message to members of his Organizing for America power base, which grew out of his 2008 election campaign.

“Their effects don’t change based on the whims of politicians in Washington. They are achievements that have a real and meaningful impact on the lives of Americans around the country.

“They are achievements that would not have been possible without you.”

Obama sent out the message after reviving his political standing after a Republican mid-term election rout with big political wins in the final days of a “lame duck” Congress this week.

In a message signed “Barack,” he asked supporters to share stories of progress as they gathered loved ones for the holiday season, and to steel themselves for a tough political year to come.

“Let’s steady ourselves with the resolve to continue pressing forward, because the coming year will hold new challenges — battles that have yet to be fought, and stories of progress that have yet to be written.”

In a day of triumph on Wednesday, Obama signed a bill repealing a ban on gays serving openly in the military, and celebrated the Senate’s ratification of a nuclear arms treaty with Russia — a centerpiece of his foreign policy.

The new website allows users to see on a local basis how Obama’s legislation, like a massive economic stimulus plan, and health reform bill had helped everyday Americans.

In a congressional district in Des Moines, Iowa, the midwestern state where Obama’s presidential campaign took flight, the president claimed to have saved or created 9,135 jobs and offered a tax cut to 152,000 families.

Obama wasted no time on Thursday getting an active start to his vacation, traveling to a US Marines base near his rented holiday home in Hawaii for a workout.

Obama habitually spends the Christmas and New Year vacation with his family in his home state and will spend the time this year, reading, swimming and relaxing, aides said.

He will also get his daily intelligence briefing, with US security forces vigilant in case of a seasonal terror attack, and also prepare his State of the Union address, due to be delivered in late January.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
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