What Should Obama’s Focus Be?

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By Paul Garber and Lisa O'Donnell/Media General News Service
Published: January 20, 2009

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.—Barack Obama faces a number of challenges both foreign and domestic as he takes over the reins of the presidency, but local sentiment favors a focus on the economy in his first days in office.

Journal reporters went to most of the 14 early voting precincts scattered across Forsyth County to talk to people about their expectations for the first 100 days of the Obama presidency. All of the people we talked to expressed concerns about the economy and what can be done to help.

At the Walkertown branch of the Forsyth County Library, James Agee said he’d like to see Obama focus his economic efforts on small businesses.

“The biggest thing he should be doing right now is trying to stimulating the economy in any way he can,” he said.

At the Rural Hall branch of the Forsyth County Library, George Jones said the economy has to be the No. 1 priority.

“I do believe in stressing green technology, and I believe a lot of new jobs can be created that way,” he said.

Demotris Morris, a student at Winston-Salem State University, said the economy needs a boost but that judging a presidency on the first hundred days—a common benchmark—is unfair.

“He has already exceeded my expectations so anything he does after that only makes it better,” he said.

Outside of the Malloy-Jordan Heritage Center on Seventh Street, Angelina Jones also said 100 days is not enough time to judge a new presidency, but it’s a starting point.

“I think in the first hundred days he should at least show us that he’s committed to the country and going forward with the progress that he has promised that he will make,” she said.

Janet Pemberton, finishing a shopping trip at a grocery store in Harper Hill Shopping Center, said she hopes Obama can put an end to the economy’s downward swing.

“Basically, I’d like to see him bring stability to the economy in some form of way to give us more hope,” she said.

The sagging economy has taken a personal toll on Tom Chadwick, who was outside of the Lewisville Library.

“For me personally, I’d like to see him help me get a job,” he said. “I’m 56 and was laid off in the summer, and I’m having a hard time finding work.”

Paul Garber can be reached at 727-7327 or at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
Lisa O’Donnell can be reached at 727-7420 or at lo’donnell@wsjournal.com.

See videos at http://inauguration.mgnetwork.com/ine/news/obama_greetings/

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