Apparently not. I'm from Peoria and I know these folks. They can't be bought with shiny objects and smooth talk.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, former Republican Peoria congressman and all-around good guy, tried his best to broker some positive news for his boss while visiting the international headquarters of Caterpillar, which is based in Peoria.

After all, Caterpillar stands to be a big winner with the infrastructure money in the stimulus bill, and was likely one of the reasons LaHood was tapped to be Transportation secretary. (That, and it took him out of the running for what might have turned out to be a special election to fill Obama's vacated Senate seat.) But the crowd was skeptical and the CEO was not convinced the Obama/Pelosi/Reid stimulus bill would help them anytime soon.

Obama gave a speech to Caterpillar workers that was creepily like his sermons on the campaign trail. The difference, however, is that these folks weren't in the crowd to be inspired by soaring rhetoric and didn't necessarily vote for him last November — or even when he campaigned for the United States Senate just a few years earlier. They weren't so willing to believe his promises and trust and cheer everything that came out of his mouth. You see, the people of Peoria have known Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaAssange hit with 17 new charges, including Espionage Act violations Progressive commentator says Obama was delusional thinking he could work with Republicans Obama makes surprise visit to Washington Nationals youth baseball program MORE longer than the rest of the country has. And it's not like he did anything special for them in the Senate that should make them think he can do anything for them now.

If Obama can't get the benefit of the doubt from Peorians on his stimulus bill, then the rest of us have every reason to exercise a healthy skepticism as well.


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