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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Obama campaigns in Fairfax County

At a campaign event at Centreville High School Saturday afternoon, President Obama clearly differentiated himself from his Republican opponent. “They believe all the benefits will trickle down,” Obama said. “We tried that before. It did not work.” As a result of those failed policies, “we went from surpluses to deficits,” he said, and experienced “the most sluggish job growth in decades.”

The rally drew about 1,200 people to the Centreville gym. It was part of a two-day campaign sweep through Virginia, a key battleground state. Obama acknowledged the election will be even closer in Virginia than it was in 2008. If Obama wins Virginia, he’ll need to do well in Fairfax County.

Obama was introduced by Annandale High School history and government teacher Stratton Shartel, who told the audience the President “is fighting for folks like me.”

Obama said “my opponent believes in top-down economics,” a policy that calls for cutting taxes for those at the top, he said, even if it means cutting funds for education and infrastructure, and turning Medicare into a voucher program.

In contrast Obama believes in “bottom-up economics.”  He vowed to fight on behalf of the middle class, noting, “when hard-working Americans do well, everybody does well.” And while Romney has been 
labeled “a pioneer of outsourcing,” Obama said he believes in “in-sourcing.” His call to give tax breaks to companies investing here in Virginia was met with loud applause.

After weathering “the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression,” the President said, we’re brought back 4.4 million jobs in the past three and a-half years. But much more work needs to be done; “we have to build an economy that works for everybody, where hard work pays off.”

Another line that drew sustained applause was Obama’s statement that providing affordable health care “is the right thing to do.” Romney wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

After accomplishing his goal of ending the war in Iraq, Obama said he wants to take half of the money used for that war to spend down the deficit and use the other half to “rebuild America,” for such things as high-speed rail and other infrastructure projects. And while the Republicans propose $5 trillion in tax cuts, with 80 percent of the cuts benefiting the wealthiest Americans, Obama said the only way to pay for that is to gut our investments in education, the infrastructure, and other key areas.

Obama opposes tax increases for the middle class, but says, “we can bring down the deficit by asking folks like me to do a little more.” He said, “When working people and the middle class do well, everyone does well.”
Obama was introduced by Annandale High School history and government teacher Stratton Shartel, who told the audience the President “is fighting for folks like me.” 

Shartel, the AHS teacher, had been doing some phone banking and voter registration for the Obama campaign in the Braddock District and was asked to participate in a pre-rally program at Centreville. He was then asked give the introduction speech by the Chicago office after he shared some of the issues he is passionate about. “I was thrilled to have the opportunity to do that,” he told the Annandale blog.

“As a teacher, I take seriously my responsibility to be objective,” Shartel said. He is looking forward to presenting a unit on the election to his government students this fall and stressed, “My primary responsibility as a teacher is not to promote my own political views but to encourage students to argue all sides.”

Shartel has been teaching U.S. history and honors government at Annandale for seven years. Before that, he was a legal editor and writer specializing in Supreme Court decisions. He decided to switch careers in his 40s and got a teaching license.

At the rally, Shartel described some the reasons why he is working to re-elect the President: Obama’s policies are helping students pay for college, and through Obamacare, his daughters will be able to stay on his health insurance plan until they are 26 and “no one will go bankrupt just because they are sick.”

“He fights for us,” Shartel said. “Now it’s our turn to fight for him.”


  1. Just what we need. A cheerleader for the left wing teaching our kids and an Annandale newsletter covering a Centreville political rally. No bias here! Not! No wonder we have the one of the worst education systems in the world.

  2. SAD for AHS !

  3. Mr. Shartel is only 1 teacher at AHS--please do not assume anything about the views of the other 200+ teachers at AHS!