Scandalous Video: Obama Talks Sense About Road Building

You all excited to watch the presidential debate tonight? Here’s a glimpse back to 2007, when the old Barack Obama was getting us all hyped up on a sugar rush of hope and change. Check out this video, care of the conservative Daily Caller, which is making a lot of hay about some racially-charged remarks Obama made on the campaign trail back then.

The part that interests us comes at about 3:45, and it’s not the part Tucker Carlson is crowing about. It’s where then-candidate Obama says:

That’s why we need additional federal public transportation dollars going to the highest need communities. We don’t need to build more highways out in the suburbs if we have people in the cities right now who want to work but have no way to get to those jobs. We got to help connect them to the jobs that exist. We should be investing in minority-owned businesses in our neighborhoods so people don’t have to travel from miles away.

The Washington Post’s Brad Plumer took this to mean that Obama was advocating a fix-it-first strategy. But that’s not quite the way I see it – it looks to me like a more incisive critique of the way urban areas get the shaft in favor of rural and suburban areas. It’s specifically an argument for urban transit instead of suburban road-building. It’s even a rejection of job sprawl and a promotion of urban businesses where people could get to work without driving.

Wonder if he’ll bring back any of that fiery urbanist zeal tonight?

  • Alas, if only. Don’t hold your breath.

  • His neighbor in Chicago for many years was none other than Jacky Grimshaw, longtime guiding light of the Center for Neighborhood Technology’s pro-transit work. Oh, and according to the Freepers, a “socialist” by association with Harold Washington (?!).

  • Aidry

    Sadly his comment had more to do with keeping money from leaking out of political machine dominated cities like Chicago. Not about good urbanism or efficiency of transportation infrastructure.  Crooked city politicians hate the burbs for allowing people to vote with their feet and take money with them. Unfortunately is also makes those same fleeing residents more likely to develop a disdain for urbanity, despite the built environment not having any effect on the political one.

  • John

    No fire, no zeal.

  • great stuff.