Political Eye: Nevada delegates still believe in Obama

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Nevada Democratic activists like Linda Cavazos are sticking by President Barack Obama, although many have been hurt by hard times in the down economy.

Cavazos said her husband lost his job in February and she had to take extra part-time work to afford to come to Charlotte last week as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. Bob Cavazos, a veteran who's getting un­employment checks, attended the three-day convention as an alternate.

Despite the personal hardship on the Henderson couple, Linda Cavazos was so touched by Obama's speech Thursday night that tears streamed down her face. She wiped them away as she spoke.

"He was so inspiring," Cavazos said from the convention floor. "He said the things I needed to hear. I needed to hear some hope. But I also wanted to hear some concrete plans, and I did."

In 2008, Obama ran on a lofty message of "hope and change." But this time around he's the president with a record to defend and a plan for the future that he laid out in broad terms.

From the stage inside the Times Warner Cable Arena, Obama told his supporters, "I'm asking you to rally around a set of goals for your country - goals in manufacturing, energy, education, national security and the deficit - a real, achievable plan that will lead to new jobs, more opportunity and rebuild this economy on a stronger foundation. That's what we can do in the next four years, and that's why I'm running for a second term as president of the United States."

He didn't delve into details during his prime-time, televised address. But a fact sheet put out by the Obama campaign outlined his specific goals:

■ Create 1 million new manufacturing jobs by the end of 2016.

■ Double exports by the end of 2014.

■ Cut net oil imports in half by 2020.

■ Support 600,000 natural gas jobs by the end of the decade.

■ Cut the growth of college tuition in half over the next 10 years.

■ Recruit 100,000 math and science teachers over the next 10 years.

■ Train 2 million workers for real jobs at community colleges.

■ Invest in the economy with the money the United States is no longer spending on war.

■ Reduce the deficit by more than $4 trillion over the next decade.

If Obama accomplishes all of that, it's unclear whether all the jobs lost during the recession he inherited - more than 8 million - will return by the next presidential election in 2016.

Obama acknowledged as much, saying: "The truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades."

So far, Obama boasts that his administration has created 4.6 million private sector jobs in the past few years, a slow recovery that his GOP presidential rival Mitt Romney has said isn't good enough.

Romney, a successful former business­man and Massachusetts governor, has promised to create 12 million jobs during his first term, if elected, by boosting private enterprise and keeping taxes low.

Whoever wins the jobs debate will likely win the election.

Cavazos, 61, said she's confident Obama will be returned to the White House, although the job is taking its toll on the president just as the economy is taking its toll on her and her husband, 59. She said her husband, a former manager, has hopes he'll find a new job soon as well.

"He looks older," Cavazos said of Obama, who at age 51 is going gray. "He looks tired, but so do I."


The convention drew Obama's staunchest supporters, but that doesn't mean they didn't need pep talks to work for his re-election in a state with the nation's highest unemployment rate at 12 percent.

Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis asked Nevada delegates to hang in there and make every effort for the president, even if they don't have jobs themselves.

"We've got to plow ahead," Solis said Thursday at a delegation breakfast, hours before the president accepted the party's nomination. "So every hour, every minute, going out and making sure we're convincing those undecided.

"And people that are going, 'I'm not feeling good right now. I didn't get my job back.' You know what? That's no reason to sit back at home and pout. It's not about pouting," she added. "Our folks in our party know this is not the time to sit back and have a coffee break. No coffee breaks. Right now is the time to get up and get motivated and to do the right thing."

After the breakfast, Solis said that she didn't mean any offense with the pouting remark, but meant to encourage supporters not to give up because the economic recovery will take time.

"I didn't mean it in a disparaging way," Solis said.

Solis was one of more than a dozen Cabinet members, lawmakers and top people with Obama's campaign who urged the Nevada Democrats to put extra muscle behind the effort to get people to the polls in the battleground state with the Nov. 6 election two months away.


Marisa Pinto, a Nevada delegate from Sparks, came away from the Democratic convention more determined than ever to get Obama re-elected, even if she has to give up her free time.

A Native American, Pinto is an example of the more diverse voters Obama brought into politics four years ago, attracted to the man would become the nation's first African-American president.

Pinto, 36, said she's an Obama team leader in her neighborhood now. But she also has a full-time job and two children who keep her busy. Pinto said she had never gotten involved in elections before Obama came on the scene. Her 2008 vote for him was the first time she went to the polls.

"I never gave up on him, even during the hard times," Pinto said. "He's our president and no matter what happens I'll stick with him through thick and thin. I feel like he's my family."

Contact reporter Laura Myers at lmyers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2919. Follow her on Twitter @lmyerslvrj.