Conservative group slams Obama in Salisbury
By Karissa Minn
SALISBURY - As Democrats continued their national convention Wednesday in Charlotte, their opponents got together 40 miles northeast to criticize them.
The Americans for Prosperity "Obama's Failing Agenda" tour stopped next to Tilley's Harley-Davidson in Salisbury on a windy Wednesday morning.
According to the conservative organization, the bus tour is traveling coast to coast "to educate Americans about President (Barack) Obama's failing agenda."
About 20 to 30 people, including many active Republicans, gathered around the black tour bus displaying a profile of Obama's face. A cartoon speech bubble said, "The private sector is doing fine." On the other side of the bus, Obama is shown saying, "You didn't build that."
One of the speakers on the tour was Tony Katz, a radio talk show host and political commentator from California.
Katz pointed to some statistics printed on the side of the bus. Unemployment has been over 8 percent for 43 months now, he said, and the national debt now totals $16 trillion.
"This is what you get from a government-centered society," he said. "It's killing us economically, it's killing morale and most importantly, it will destroy the United States."
Katz mentioned a video shown at the beginning of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, which included the line, "Government is the only thing we all belong to."
"I don't belong to the government. We don't belong to the government," he said, to applause and cheering. "Government belongs to us."
After his speech, Katz said what has struck him most about North Carolina is how informed its people are. He said they don't just get upset about their situation - they look for ways to fix it.
Dallas Woodhouse, state director of Americans for Prosperity N.C., said business owners are bracing for more regulation, higher energy costs and higher health care costs.
He said they don't want to risk growing, expanding or even starting their businesses until they know how government policies will affect them.
"The federal government has put a cold, wet blanket on the economic situation here in North Carolina and across America, and it is really bad right now," he said. "But we can do something about it."
Volunteers can sign up to make calls to voters with the organization's phone banking system, he said. Woodhouse also encouraged people to fill out absentee ballot request forms, saying he believes it's the safest and most secure way to vote.
Becki Gray, vice president of outreach for the John Locke Foundation think tank, said Democrats talk about a "war on women" but she has a different perspective.
Women know what it's like try to make ends meet with a monthly budget, she said, and they know that people shouldn't spending what they don't have.
She said the Affordable Care Act will affect the relationship women have with their doctors, and an government-controlled education system is failing their children.
"There is a war on women, but it's coming from the other side," Gray said. "I'm going to ask you to get out your combat gear. I want you to freshen up your lipstick, get your high heels on and let's get busy."Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.