Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Woman who questioned Obama’s handling of economy at town hall is laid off

Back in September, at a town hall meeting broadcast nationally by CNBC, Velma Hart became the face of Americans anxious for their future. Hart stood before the microphone and gave President Obama a dressing-down about the state of the economy.

"I am a chief financial officer for a veterans service organization, AmVets here in Washington. I'm also a mother, I'm a wife, I'm an American veteran, and I'm one of your middle-class Americans," Hart told the president. "And quite frankly, I'm exhausted. I'm exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the mantle of change I voted for, and deeply disappointed with where we are right now. I've been told that I voted for a man who said he was going to change things in a meaningful way for the middle class. I'm one of those people and I'm waiting, sir, I'm waiting. I don't feel it yet."

You can watch the video of Hart's remarks in the clip above.
Hart also noted that she and her husband were worried about reverting back to the "hot dogs and beans era" of their lives, and asked the president a pointed question: "Is this my new reality?"

Sadly, it may be, at least for a little while, as Velma Hart has been laid off by AmVets.
"It's not anything she did," Jim King, the national executive director of AmVets, told the Washington Post's Michelle Singletary. "She got bit by the same snake that has bit a lot of people. It was a move to cut our bottom line. Most not-for-profits are seeing their money pinched."

Saying that Hart had been a "good employee," King added that the move "was just a matter of looking at the bottom line and where could we make the best cuts and survive."

President Obama, in closing his lengthy response to Hart's "new reality" question at the town hall in September, assured Hart that the country is "moving in the right direction." That's probably an especially tough case to make to Hart today. (Hart told The Lookout through a friend that she's unavailable for comment Tuesday.)

Hart, did however, tell CNBC that her misfortune has again brought home the suffering of many other Americans struggling with the same circumstances. "What's in my heart is: Now -- even more than I did before -- I appreciate what millions of people who are in my condition now have been experiencing for the last two, three, four years," she said. "Of course I'm afraid. Everybody's a little afraid." She also stressed that she remains a supporter of President Obama.

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