Goshen News, Goshen, IN

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January 19, 2013

Elkhart County Democrats discuss Obama's past, future

Inauguration events set for Sunday, Monday

GOSHEN — Sunday’s inauguration of President Obama to a second term will be a reminder for his local supporters of what he has accomplished, and also opportunities lost.

Democrat Second District vice chairwoman Zanzer Anderson of Elkhart will be on hand Monday to both watch the ceremonial inauguration and volunteer at a banquet.

“I think the next four (years) will be a lot better for him,” Anderson said. “He doesn’t have to worry about being re-elected. He can pretty well do what he wants to do. He has always been a compromising president. He doesn’t always do what the Democrats want to do.”

Yet Anderson has concerns as well.

“I had some hopes before for some other things. All of the gun violence. I would really like to see something about gun control,” Anderson said. She said her husband and others in her family are gun owners and hunters and she has no problem with gun ownership, but she would like to see Obama take action to control assault rifles.

“This whole idea of armor-piercing bullets, assault rifles in the hands of citizens, extended mags on guns, is just nuts,” she said.

Another prominent local Democrat, Goshen’s Mayor Allan Kauffman, was one of 1.8 million excited humans who crowded the Mall in Washington to witness Obama’s historic first inauguration. Kauffman and his son Nick had pretty good seats to see the first African-American take the oath of office for the presidency.

“It was interesting to look back at the crowd and see people with tears in their eyes because they didn’t ever think they would see that day during their lifetimes,” Kauffman said.

But now, as he looks back at Obama’s first term, Kauffman believes Obama faced an uphill battle from Inauguration Day forward.

“I have been upset for four years, primarily with the Republican leadership, who got together even before he was inaugurated and said our number one goal was to make sure he doesn’t get elected,” Kauffman said. “It wasn’t about helping the country. It was about making sure he didn’t get re-elected, and that set the tone for the whole four years. I am surprised he was able to get as much through as he was.”

Some of what Obama “got through” was the Affordable Health Care Act, and an $80 billion bailout of the automobile industry.

“There were some very important strides made,” Kauffman said.

The mayor said that some of the rancor in Washington may be subsiding as the Republican leadership doesn’t have to worry about another run for presidency by Obama.

“For the next four years that goal has been removed,” Kauffman said. “For the next four years we can all get together and move the country forward.”

Anderson believes that when Obama’s most prominent program, the Affordable Health Care Act, is fully implemented Americans will be happy with the results.

Kauffman also sees the health care act as being a big positive. He believes the Republican leadership has dropped the idea of repealing the act, so it will begin to shape health care in America for the better.

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