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Praise for Obama splits along party lines


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POSTED: Monday, April 20, 2009

Hawaii will benefit greatly from the programs President Barack Obama initiated in his first 12 weeks in office, Brian Schatz, Democratic Party of Hawaii chairman said at a news conference yesterday.

“;He did what he said he would do,”; said Schatz, an early isle supporter of Obama's. “;He brought change for America and the world.”;

He cited programs that will save or create 15,000 jobs and infuse $246 million in construction money into state and county coffers for ports, roads, hospitals and schools.

But Hawaii Republican Party Executive Director Adam Deguire said Obama's polices will triple the nation's debt in 10 years, has raised taxes, and have shut out Republicans from important policy decisions.

“;He achieved the opposite of what he promised us,”; Deguire said. “;We can't afford this type of change.”;

In an early report card on the administration, Schatz said Obama initiatives approved by Congress will give thousands of people in Hawaii additional unemployment benefits and food stamp benefits. And hundreds of thousands of Hawaii residents will pay lower taxes, thanks to an expanded child tax credit, college tax credit and Making Work Pay tax credit, he said.

Other measures ensure women are paid the same as men for doing the same job, invest in health care, education and clean energy and expand coverage of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, Schatz said.

Deguire countered that the government needs to spend taxpayer money responsibly and balance the budget. But instead of bipartisanship, fiscal responsibility and lower taxes, Deguire said, Obama has raised federal taxes for the first time with a hike in the cigarette tax.

He said “;tea parties”; staged across the country show that some people oppose Obama's policies and are rising up against them.