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Top Dems Talk Economy in So. California

EGP News Service, News Report, Staff Posted: Jan 20, 2008

The Democratic Partys top two presidential candidates were in the Southern California during the last week, just three weeks ahead of Californias Presidential Primary on Feb. 5.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, campaigning Friday, Jan. 11 in Commerce, unveiled a five-part, $70 billion economic stimulus package that includes relief from home foreclosures, energy assistance and increased unemployment benefits.

In her response to what polls have indicated as the nations leading issue, Clintons proposal includes a $30 billion emergency housing crisis fund to assist states and cities mitigate the effects of mounting foreclosures; a 90-day moratorium on subprime foreclosures; and an automatic rate freeze on subprime mortgages of at least five years.

Clinton also called for $25 billion in emergency energy assistance for families facing rising heating bills; accelerating $5 billion in energy efficiency and alternative energy investments to stimulate green collar job growth; and a $10 billion increase in extending and broadening unemployment benefits.

``Economists and politicians are finally waking up to what many of Americas families already know: that we might be sliding into a recession, said Clinton, D-N.Y. But when the bills are stacking up, and youre just one pink slip away from losing everything youve got, the last thing you need is more talk.

Clinton called on Congress to provide an additional $40 billion in direct tax rebates to what she called working and middle-class families if the economy continues to worsen.

The recent economic downturn has caused the economy to pass the Iraq War as the most important issue facing the nation, according to recent polls.

Clintons appearance at the Electrical Training Institute, a facility affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, was her first in Southern California since a Dec. 10 fundraiser.

Clinton was introduced by California Lt. Gov. John Garamendi and flanked by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and her daughter, Chelsea.

But Clinton wasnt the only presidential contender talking economics in the Southland, this week: Illinois Sen. Barack Obama held a Roundtable on Economic Opportunity at a supporters home in the latest example of how the economy has replaced the Iraq War as the presidential campaigns top issue.

Obama also picked up the endorsement of Maria Elena Durazo, the head of the politically powerful Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, which, with more than 800,000 members, is Californias biggest regional labor group.

The endorsement comes on the heels of several other local endorsements, including those of two California Latino elected officials who had been backing a fellow Latino, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, according to the Obama campaign.

Richardson dropped out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination Jan. 10 following fourth-place finishes in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary. On Sunday, state Sen. Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, and former state Democratic Sen. Martha Escutia of Los Angeles endorsed Obama.

The endorsements could help Obama in his uphill struggle against Hillary Rodham Clinton, who leads Obama in the polls both overall in California and among Latino voters.

Durazo says her endorsement is a personal one, according to broadcast reports. She is taking a leave of absence from her job to campaign for Obama through the Feb. 5 primary.

Obamas visit comes three days after he announced a $75 billion plan to stimulate the economy, including giving an immediate $250 tax cut for workers and their families; a $250 bonus to senior citizens in their Social Security checks; an additional $250 to both workers and Social Security recipients if the economy continues to worsen; aid to states hit hardest by the housing downturn and extending and expanding unemployment benefits.

The American dream is slipping out of reach for many families whose paychecks arent meeting the increased costs of their medical bills and tuition payments, Obama said.

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