CINCINNATI - With less than 48 hours until Election Day, President Barack Obama tried to energize voters in the crucial battleground state of Ohio with a rousing speech Sunday evening in the Queen City.
Appearing before a capacity crowd of more than 15,000 people at the University of Cincinnati’s Fifth Third Arena, Obama emphasized the differences between him and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney.
Pegging himself as a defender of middle class families, Obama said Romney wanted to return to the fiscal policies of President George W. Bush that emphasizes tax cuts for more affluent Americans in the hopes that the money will be reinvested into the economy.
“What we got was falling incomes and the slowest growth we had in 50 years,” Obama said. “[Romney] is trying to offer up the same old ideas as new ideas.”
Obama said those policies “crashed our economy” in the past and would harm the economic recovery that is under way.
“That’s not change,” the president said. “That’s surrender to the same policies that have hurt middle class families for too long.”
Perhaps playing to the crowd at UC, Obama focused on education and what policies he would implement if given another four-year term.
Obama said he would work to slow the growth in tuition rates by half during the next 10 years, provide funding to hire 100,000 new math and science teachers, and set a goal of retraining 2 million people at the nation’s community colleges to help make them more employable.
Further, Obama sharply criticized Romney’s plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program for future generations.
“A budget is about choices, it’s about values, it’s about priorities,” he said. “As long as I’m president, I won’t turn Medicare into a voucher program just to pay for another tax cut for millionaires.”
And in his most direct attack on Romney, Obama mentioned one of his rival’s recent TV commercials about American automotive jobs moving to China.
The ad states, “Obama took GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy and sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China. Mitt Romney will fight for every American job.”
But Chrysler has said it has no plans to move U.S. jobs overseas. The automaker is mulling the expansion of its Chinese operations for the Chinese market. In fact, Chrysler has added 11,200 U.S. jobs since going through a managed bankruptcy backed by federal bailout dollars in 2008-09, and is adding 1,100 new jobs in Detroit.
Romney’s ad, Obama alleged, caused some U.S. workers to unnecessarily fear for their jobs.
“This isn’t a game. You don’t scare people just to score some votes,” Obama said. “That’s not what being president is all about.”
Before Obama appeared, singer Stevie Wonder performed for the crowd, stopping between songs to stump for the president.
“The stakes are higher than ever. Make sure that you vote,” Wonder told the cheering crowd. “We can’t move backward, we need to move forward. We need to reach higher ground.”
Sensing the enthusiasm in the room, Wonder added, “I will see you at the celebration on Wednesday.”
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