Obama addresses student concerns, upcoming election at campaign rally
Published: Friday, June 22, 2012
Updated: Monday, June 25, 2012 02:06
In a his first Florida 2012 campaign stop, 137 days before the national election, U.S. President Barack Obama addressed a diverse crowd of more than 2500 people in states of dress ranging from T-shirts to tuxedos at Hillsborough Community College’s Dale Mabry campus Friday afternoon.
With his sleeves rolled up, the president had comforting words for Florida students the day after USF’s tuition differential was increased by 11 percent.
“I want to make higher education for every American who wants it,” he said. “Not just through loans and grants, but by getting schools to hold down the cost of tuition.”
As chants of “four more years” and “fired up, ready to work” rang through the crowd that booed at mentions of names like Rick Scott or Mitt Romney, Obama roused the crowds in hopes of defeating Romney in the general election.
“There’s no mystery what will happen if the other side wins,” he said.
Obama said Romney called for tax cuts for millionaires that were footed “on the backs of the middle class.”
“How many of you want to foot the bill for giving people like me and Mr. Romney another tax cut?” he said.
As Obama mentioned Romney’s tax plans, lights flickered due to heavy thunder and rainstorms outside. Obama grinned, and pointed upward.
“See?” he said.
The visit was Obama’s second to Tampa this year. Tampa, part of the Interstate-4 corridor, has often been crucial in determining the outcome of elections.
“All eyes will be on the great state of Florida,” Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said. “2012 will be no exception.”
Obama emphasized Tampa’s importance in the election and pledged his support to work towards a creating jobs for the middle class that would create better infrastructure in Tampa, taking jabs at Romney’s Bain Capital past.
“We will restore the middle class so they can retire with dignity and respect,” Obama said. “The outcome is up to you — the people of Tampa and the people of Florida. Tampa, I still believe in you. I need you to still believe in me...Tampa, we don’t need an outsourcing pioneer in the Oval Office. We need a President who will fight for American jobs and American manufacturing.”
Obama reminded the crowd, much to their screaming approval, of his commitment to policies like the DREAM Act and the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, requesting their help in the coming election season.
“If you believe everybody should be able to succeed no matter what they look like, or what their last name is or who they love, I ask you to stand with me,” he said. “They will have ad after ad after ad, and all them will have scary voices. They’ll have pictures of me looking all old...I promise you I will wake up everyday and think about you and fight for you.”