Thursday, June 14, 2012

Obama, At Tri-C, Makes His Case For Four More Years

When Barack Obama entered the gym of Cuyahoga County Community College Metro Campus today, the audience — some wearing “Team Obama” T-shirts, others proudly sporting the iconic Shepard Fairey “Hope” art across their chest — got on their feet.

“There is one place where I stand in complete agreement with my opponent: this election is about our economic future,” the president told the crowd.

Obama’s Cleveland speech made up half of a dramatic day for Ohio and the presidential election. His appearance here, and Republican challenger Mitt Romney’s similar speech in Cincinnati, underscored how crucial the state will be in the November election.

As free-market advocate Romney increasingly pressures recession-burdened Obama on the economic front, the president has shied away from healthcare and zeroed in on his business plan.

Obama portrayed the dueling campaigns as offering “two very different visions.” He likened Romney’s plans to the Bush era, arguing that Romney would cut taxes by trillions and strip the government down to national security and a few other basic functions. He said skeptics should vote for Romney if they want to support the policies of the last decade.

“This is their vision; there is nothing new,” Obama said. “Just what Bill Clinton has called, ‘The same ideas they tried before, except on steroids.’”

Positioning himself as an advocate of creating middle class jobs, the president promised to invest in clean energy and revitalize the educational system with more teachers. Obama tied education to the economy by underlining the importance of science and innovation.

The president also defended his incumbent track record. He asserted that 4 million jobs have been created in the last 27 months, under his watch, more than in the seven years before the unemployment crisis. He also appealed to supporters of manufacturing, a classic move for politicians rallying in the Rust Belt, claiming that this is the strongest period for manufacturing job growth since 1995.

“I believe that you can’t bring down the debt without a strong and growing economy,” Obama said. “I believe you can’t have a strong and growing economy without a strong, growing middle class.”

But as Obama contrasted himself from Romney — from his approach to the economy to his threatening political ads — Romney was addressing the crowd in Cincinnati. Romney similarly focused on the economy, but indicated he would limit the size of government. You can read about Romney’s appearance downstate here.

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