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Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

Sen. Barack Obama's Prepared Remarks Delivered in Elkhart, Ind.

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Friday, August 8, 2008; 3:36 PM

OBAMA: We meet at a moment when this country is facing a set of challenges unlike any we've ever known. Right now, our brave men and women in uniform are fighting two different wars while terrorists plot their next attack. Our changing climate is putting our planet in peril and our security at risk. And our economy is in turmoil, with more and more of our families struggling with rising costs, falling incomes, and lost jobs.

So we know that this election could be the most important of our lifetime. We know that the choices we make in November and over the next few years will shape the next decade, if not the century. And central to each of these challenges is the question of what we will do about our addiction to foreign oil.

Without a doubt, this addiction is one of the most urgent threats we've ever faced -- from the gas prices that are wiping out your paychecks and straining businesses, to the jobs that are disappearing from this state; from the instability and terror bred in the Middle East, to the rising oceans, record drought, and spreading famine that could engulf our planet.

How, exactly, did we get to this point? Well, you won't hear me say this too often, but I couldn't agree more with the explanation that Senator McCain offered a few weeks ago. He said, "Our dangerous dependence on foreign oil has been thirty years in the making, and was caused by the failure of politicians in Washington to think long-term about the future of the country." What Senator McCain neglected to mention was that during those thirty years, he was in Washington for twenty-six of them.

Now, yesterday, Senator McCain started running a TV ad saying that Washington is broken. No kidding. It only took Senator McCain those 26 years in Washington to figure that out. But here's the thing, Elkhart. I'm having a little trouble squaring that statement with Senator McCain's declaration a few months ago that we've made "great progress economically" over the past eight years. Or his boast that he's voted with President Bush over 90% of the time. Or his assertion that overall, the American people are better off now than they were when George W. Bush came into office.

You know from your own lives that we're not better off than we were eight years ago. Back then, you were paying about $1.50 for gas. Today, you're paying around $4 a gallon. Back then, you were paying $875 a year on electric bills. Today, you're paying more than $1,100. Back then, you were paying about $900 for heating oil to get you through the winter. This winter, you're likely to pay nearly $2,500.

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