Politics

September 8, 2012

Obama swings through swing state next door

By John Richardson jrichardson@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — President Obama delivered a rousing call to action to thousands of supporters Friday, fresh off his speech Thursday night at the Democratic National Convention.

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President Barack Obama waves to the crowd at the end of his speech in Portsmouth, N.H., on Friday.

Gregory Rec / Staff Photographer

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President Barack Obama addresses a crowd of supporters during a campaign stop with first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Jill Biden in Portsmouth, N.H., on Friday.

Gregory Rec / Staff Photographer

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THE CAMPAIGN AT A GLANCE

The presidential race is moving into high gear.

Now that both parties have launched their respective tickets, President Obama and rival Mitt Romney are revving up for the home stretch, campaigning Friday in battleground states.

They'll be spending most of their time in about a dozen states right to Election Day just 60 days off. Right now the most closely contested states include Nevada, Colorado, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Iowa, Virginia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and, with Rep. Paul Ryan on the ticket, his home state of Wisconsin.

The economy remains the No. 1 issue for both sides. Obama and Romney reacted quickly to a new government report showing that, while the nation's jobless rate dropped to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent in July, only 96,000 jobs were created - not enough to bring the unemployment rate down much lower than where it sits today.

Obama, campaigning with Vice President Joe Biden in New Hampshire, acknowledged, "We need to create more jobs, faster."

Romney, who maintained a low profile during the just-concluded Democratic convention preparing for upcoming presidential debates, campaigned in Iowa.

"We're going in the wrong direction," Romney told reporters in Sioux City. And he didn't mean his campaign itinerary.

"This president tried, but he didn't understand what it takes to make our economy work. I do," Romney said.

-- The Associated Press

"We're going to have to work, because this is going to be a close election," Obama said, to chants of "four more years" from the crowd.

As he did at the convention in Charlotte, N.C., Obama framed the election as a choice between "two fundamentally different visions" for America.

He said Republicans want to leave people to fend for themselves.

"When we work together we all do better," he said. "America's not just about what can be done for us. It's about what can be done by us together as one nation and one people."

An estimated 6,000 people attended the event on a field surrounded by the historic homes and buildings that make up the Strawbery Banke Museum.

Obama was joined by his wife, Michelle, and Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, in a rare joint campaign appearance. The visit by both couples showed just how close the election is shaping up to be, in New Hampshire and nationally.

Obama cited numbers released Friday morning that showed slow job growth continuing nationwide.

He said the country was losing 800,000 jobs a month when he took office at the start of 2009, and this is the 30th consecutive month of job gains.

"But that's not good enough," he said. "We need to create more jobs faster. We need to come out of this crisis stronger than when we went into it."

Obama said he needs four more years to provide more opportunity in the economy. His plan, he said, includes investing in education and green energy, adding manufacturing jobs, and reforming the tax system and reducing the federal deficit without hurting the middle class.

"I'm not going to pretend that this path is quick or easy, and by the way I never have," he said.

Obama said Republicans haven't offered a specific alternative plan, and joked that they seem to think tax cuts and deregulation will fix everything.

"All they have to offer is the same prescription they have used for 30 years. Tax cuts, tax cuts, deregulation, oh and tax cuts," Obama said.

Obama said he reduced taxes for middle-class families, but doesn't believe that tax cuts for the highest earners will help the economy or reduce the deficit.

"We have been there. We've tried that. It didn't work then. It's not going to work now. We're not going back. We are moving forward," he said.

Obama paraphrased former President Clinton when he criticized Republican candidate Mitt Romney's plan to reduce the federal deficit and cut taxes for the wealthy. "There's a basic component missing from his plan's math," Obama said.

Obama praised Clinton for his speech at the convention Wednesday night, saying someone suggested making Clinton Secretary of Explaining Stuff. "I like that," Obama said.

He also praised the convention speech given by his wife Tuesday night. "Wasn't Michelle amazing?" Obama said, drawing a loud cheer. Many in the audience Friday said they were most looking forward to seeing and hearing the first lady.

Michelle Obama did not speak but waved from the stage with her husband and the Bidens, and greeted supporters at the end of the event.

Biden spoke briefly and praised the president for his compassion and courage.

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

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Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a rally in Portsmouth, N.H., Friday at a campaign stop with President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle and Jill Biden.

Gregory Rec / Staff Writer

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Supporters start filling the stands along a field at Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, N.H., hours before President Obama's speech on Friday.

Gregory Rec / Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

A woman holds a "Swedes for Obama" sign in a field at the Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, N.H., hours before the scheduled arrival of President Obama, first lady Michelle, Vice President Joe Biden and Jill Biden.

Gregory Rec / Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

The field at the Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, N.H., where President Obama will speak later Friday is lined by historic homes.

Gregory Rec / Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

Supporters fill a field at the Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, N.H., hours before President Obama's speech on Friday.

Gregory Rec / Staff Photographer

 


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