Friday, February 16, 2007

Obama and Seniors

While the Obama campaign has been mostly viewed as a movement generated by young people, the candidate's concern and appeal to seniors cannot be overlooked.

"Barack Obama will be the Democratic candidate in 2008. He provides a phenomenal vision for seniors, first-time voters. He is the one who can carry our ideals to the forefront," said former Illinois State Senator Larry Walsh in an interview with

Obama's support for improved, affordable and universal healthcare will appeal to the powerful senior voting bloc, traditionally one of the most influential in electoral politics.

"Every senior citizen deserves to retire with dignity and respect," Obama told young Facebook supporters at a George Mason University rally.

As a member of the Illinois state senate, Obama sponsored the Health Care Justice Act, to research roads toward statewide universal healthcare and co-sponsored a prescription drug discount buying club for seniors and the disabled. In both cases, his legislation passed.

On Social Security, he opposes privatization and believes the system can be fixed with less drastic measures.

"The crisis in Social Security, I believe, is overstated in the sense that, if we make some adjustments to the system, as we did in 1983, we can assure the solvency of the system.

"Medicaid and Medicare are genuinely in crisis because health care inflation is so outstripping the expansion of the economy that it is gobbling up more and more taxpayer dollars, and it's going to get worse because of demographics," he said. "Folks get older, and they require more medical care."

Book still high on charts

In his quest for name recognition, the senator must be happy that his book The Audacity of Hope is listed at no. 2 on the Wall Street Journal list of best-sellers in the non-fiction category.

An candidate tracking page shows that not only is at the top spot among candidate websites, but that Obama's Wikipedia entry is in the third slot just behind

Also in the area of name recognition, endorsements like that of blogger Arianna Huffington, mistress of The Huffington Post, can be very helpful.

However, the internet is limited in reaching out to certain groups, including seniors who often are not online. The campaign must find other ways of getting their message across to these voters.

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