Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Obama Speaks at Monaco RV in Wakarusa Aug. 5

Update Aug. 5: Obama's speech here.
This is likely to be live streamed at cnn.com and msnbc.com. Obama will speak at 11:55 eastern.
The excitement was building Tuesday in Wakarusa, a day before President Barack Obama drops by to announce manufacturing grants for the economically hard-hit Elkhart County region.
The president was scheduled to announce the grants and give an outline of his economic recovery plans during an appearance Wednesday morning at Monaco RV in Wakarusa. The company is one of many that has been slammed by the recession in the region, whose economy is based significantly on the manufacture and sale of recreational vehicles.
A White House official told The Elkhart Truth on Monday night that Obama would announce some advanced battery and electric vehicle manufacturing grants. Vice President Joe Biden was expected to make a similar announcement in Detroit.
Monaco RV is a highly symbolic location for Obama’s announcement, representing the ups and downs of the recessionary cycle. The plant has been to bankruptcy and back, and people are once again working there. But after 1,400 workers were laid off, the workforce is much smaller than it was before Navistar International Corp., an Illinois-based transportation company, bought the plant from Monaco Coach Corp. and rescued it from plans to close. MSNBC
From the Elkhart Truth:
The news had just come in to Cook's Pizza: On Wednesday, President Barack Obama will visit the Monaco RV Plant in Wakarusa. But already the air in the small corner shop diner was rife with conversations among the regulars.

"There's been a buzz around here since last week," said an owner of the diner, Steve Cook. "It's been what everyone's been talking about."

Discussion and debate about Obama's visit resonated throughout Wakarusa Monday and Cook's Pizza served as just one forum in a town of about 1,700 people.

"I wish him all the luck in a world, even though a lot of others don't," said Larry Crow between sips of his coffee at the diner. "He's coming into a total mess."

Like many in Wakarusa, Crow's been directly affected by the economic downturn. In February, he went into retirement after being laid off from Monaco. That was shortly before the company went into bankruptcy and was bought by Navistar International. Read more here.