WASHINGTON -- President Obama is in a tough re-election race, and trying to win over voters in Louisiana, a state he lost four years ago.
Channel 4 was one of eight stations invited to talk to the president one on one about issues that matter to you. Our Karen Swensen took your questions directly to the president this afternoon.
The vast majority of the emails we received were about the economy and jobs. We had five minutes with the president, and right off the top we asked him why struggling Louisianans should vote for him, given the past four years have brought many people change, but change for the worse.
Q: "When you took office, in New Orleans the unemployment rate was 6.1 percent. It’s now, it’s 7.2 percent. With 4,000 people losing their jobs just between April and May, what would you say to those constituents, to those voters, who would say 'I’m not better off, with all due respect, than I was four years ago -- I’m worse?'"
OBAMA: "Well, you know if you look at what’s happened not just in Louisiana but across the country, most of those job losses initially came in the first six months of me being in office, right as we were hitting the worst part of the crisis, and we’ve been doing clean-up ever since. I mean this is essentially, it was like a financial hurricane that hit and we’ve been cleaning up ever since. And as a consequence what we’ve seen is the unemployment rate has dropped from where it was, we’ve created 4.4 million new jobs, 500,000 new manufacturing jobs, and are we where we need to be? Absolutely not.
"But in terms of going forward voters are gonna need to look at what’s the option? You’ve got one option that says let’s cut $5 trillion more in tax cuts for the wealthy and somehow that’s gonna solve our problem, and you’ve got folks like me who say let’s invest in education and infrastructure, rebuilding our ports, all those things that are really gonna help us to put people back to work and grow our economy, and ultimately voters are gonna be breaking the stalemate that exists here in Washington."
The stalemate the president was talking about involves tax cuts, and on Monday the president proposed extending tax cuts to the middle class, something he says everyone agrees on, but Republicans want across the board cuts, even for the wealthy. The president says he’d veto a bill that included any tax cuts to the rich.
Tonight at 10 p.m. we'll have more on the economy, and also the topic of health care came up during our interview. We brought one of your questions directly to him and we'll have his answer, at 10 p.m.