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Obama Gets NY Thumbs Up for Focus on Middle Class and Jobs

November 10, 2008

New York, NY — President-elect Barack Obama used his first news conference since being elected to call for a new economic stimulus package, and he is getting high marks from some New Yorkers for focusing on people in the middle.

With the economy shedding jobs at the highest rate in 14 years, advocates for working-class New Yorkers say Obama is charting the right course by targeting the middle class with a stimulus package and plans to extend unemployment benefits. Anne Erickson is president and CEO of the Empire Justice Center.

"He clearly sees where the need is, is at the middle and lower ends. His framework for looking at things is so different, and I think it is exactly what we need in this time of crisis."

Erickson says it's great to start with the middle class, but she says Obama needs to spell out more action to help the states deal with the poor. She says when the economy goes down, the burden on the states goes up, creating a need to shore up social safety-net programs at the state level.

The nation lost more than a half-million jobs in just the last two months, and Erickson says Obama's focus on jobs will be needed.

"New York certainly is going to be hard hit because a lot of those jobs were on Wall Street and a lot of them now are on Main Street, upstate New York; I think as President he can really look at the underlying tax policy, look at where we are investing and not investing."

Erickson says the economic advisors that flanked the President-elect are a sign that Obama can put together a solid team, and will hopefully be able to hit the ground running come January.

Michael Clifford/Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NY