Presidential Hopeful Obama Hits South Florida For Fundraisers

Sunday, March 25th 2007, 4:13 pm
By: News On 6

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ The Iraq war is diminishing America's standing in the world and diverting millions of dollars that should be spent on health care, education and alternative energy research in the United States, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama said Sunday.

``We have to recognize that if we don't make some fundamental changes right now that we could be the first generation in a very long time that leaves an America behind that is a little poorer and a little meaner than the one we inherited from our parents, and that's unacceptable,'' Obama told a crowd of about 600 supporters at a fundraiser in West Palm Beach.

The Democratic presidential hopeful said all Americans should have universal health care, vehicles should be getting up to 60 miles per gallon, workers should get wage increases and education should be fully funded so the next generation can compete in the world market.

``But here's the thing, we can't initiate all these creative ideas to solve our domestic challenges if we don't bring this war in Iraq to a close,'' Obama said.

Several public opinion polls show Obama trailing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, with former vice president Al Gore in third, even though Gore has said he has no plans to run.

Obama lashed out at the Bush administration for an energy policy that gives money ``to some of the most hostile nations on Earth,'' while unchecked greenhouse gas emissions threaten the world's climate.

He also said Americans have lost faith in their government because of partisan politics, and called restoring that confidence ``the most difficult task that confronts us, even harder than dealing with Iraq.''

``We have a sense that special interests and big money sets the agenda,'' Obama said. ``So there's a reason for cynicism, but there's also a reason for hope.''

Obama was set to attend four fundraisers in South Florida on Sunday before heading to Atlanta on Monday.