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Many still waiting for change promised 4 years ago

By John Craven, Reporter, JCraven@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 20 2013 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 21 2013 08:57:51 PM CST

For all the hoopla and cheering, Monday's inauguration was a lot more subdued than it was four years ago.

President Obama's inaugural message was "hope and change" in 2009. But four years later, many voters say they're still waiting for that change.

As Mr. Obama accepted his second term in office, the lunch crowd at Allentown's Sunrise Diner looked on.

"I'm hopeful," said June Bummer of Salisbury Twp.

But that hope now is tempered, a far cry from the excited crowd of students who left Muhlenberg College four years ago to watch Obama's first inauguration.

"I feel like there's going to be a lot of unity and a lot of hope there," one told us that day.

The mood is more somber now.

"It didn't quite pan out that way," said Janice Foster, visiting the area from Colorado.

"As a manager, you get measured by what you accomplish," said Karen Lederace of Bethlehem. "I don't think we've accomplished enough in four years."

Although the President passed sweeping health care reform and ended the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, unemployment remains high and the housing market is still sluggish.

"I have a daughter-in-law that's been trying to sell her home for awhile," said Bummer.

Some expect things to turn around in Obama's second term.

"It wasn't all his fault when he came in office in 2008," said Barry Spitko of Whitehall Twp. "It was the president before going into all these wars."

In his inaugural speech, the President also focused on issues largely neglected in his first term.

"We will respond to the threat of climate change," he said.

Barry's wife, Bernadine, said that's a good thing.

"I think there is a lot to be said about climate change, I really do," she said.

Barry hopes immigration reform finally happens as well.

"It's okay to come over here, but you can't come over here illegally," he said.

But again, the overwhelming feeling is that getting companies to hire workers again should be the first priority for the second term.