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Obama tells crowd of 14,000 in New Hampshire he'll champion working families
Former President Bill Clinton addresses a crowd of 14,000 in downtown Concord on Sunday morning. (Time Buckland/Union Leader)
President Barack Obama greets former President Bill Clinton with a hug before speaking in Concord on Sunday morning. (Tim Buckland/Union Leader)
CONCORD – Saying he wants to be a “champion” for the middle class and working families, President Barack Obama asked a crowd of 14,000 on a chilly Sunday morning for four more years in office.
“You know, the folks at the very top in this country, they don't need a champion in Washington. They'll always have a seat at the table,” Obama said. “The laid-off paper mill worker whose retraining at the age of 55 for a new career in a new industry, she needs a champion.
“That teacher in an overcrowded classroom with outdated textbooks, digging into her own pocket to buy school supplies and not always getting the support she needs, but knowing everyday that she might reach that one child and make all the difference in that child's life, she needs a champion,” he said.
The president's speech, two days before Tuesday's election, was part of a final push in New Hampshire by Obama and the Republican nominee, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who will be appearing along with the musician Kid Rock tonight at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester.
Obama's speech was preceded by remarks by U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Gov. John Lynch and former President Bill Clinton, who also spoke in Dover later Sunday.
Clinton branded Romney as a candidate who was willing to use lies to advance his political agenda, specifically referring to an ad by the Romney campaign that claims Obama sold Jeep to Italians to move jobs to China. Independent fact-checkers, as well as the heads of Chrysler and General Motors, have called the ad false.
Using a phrase he said he borrowed from former President George W. Bush, Clinton said, “It's absurd. Is that the kind of decider-in-chief you want?
“(Romney) got caught saying something that wasn't accurate,” Clinton said. “Now when I was a kid and I got caught with my hand in the cookie jar, I sort of shrugged and took my hand out of the cookie jar. He's grabbing for more cookies. I like Barack Obama as decider-in-chief better.”
He also said Romney was suffering from “Romnesia” when he claimed he could create an economic environment that would add 12 million new jobs in the next four years.
“What he forgot to tell you was this: just a few days before that 12 million new jobs promise was made, an independent business forecaster, Moody's Analytics, said to all of us that we will get 12 million new jobs in the next four years if we just don't mess up what the president has already done.”
In its report in August, Moody's said the economy would create 12 million new jobs in the next four years regardless of who is president.
Turning a common phrase of election-year politics, Obama argued that much of America is better off now than it was four years ago.
“In 2008, we were in the middle of two wars and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression,” Obama said. “Today, our businesses have created nearly five and half million new jobs. The American auto industry is back on top. Home values are on the rise. We are less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in the last 20 years.”
But he said the country had more work to do and said he would be the better choice to guide the country for another four years.
“As long as there is a single American who wants a job and can't find one, our work is not yet done,” he said. “As long as our families are working harder and harder, but still falling behind, our work is not yet done. As long as there is a child, anywhere in New Hampshire, anywhere in this country, who is languishing in poverty, our fight has to go on.”
“On Tuesday, Americans will have a clear choice between four more years of stagnation or four years of prosperity and opportunity,” Michael Levoff, spokesman for the Romney campaign, said in a responding statement. “The people of New Hampshire, along with the rest of America, will choose Governor Romney's optimistic vision for our country's future and will vote for real change so he can get our country back on the right track.”
As people filed toward shuttle buses, several said they were impressed with Obama's speech.
“He sounded energized and I was encouraged by it,” said Barbara Boyd of Deerfield.
“I thought it was well-said, pretty inspiring,” said Jim Maceachern, who was with Boyd.
Linda Miccio of Manchester, said was uplifted by Clinton's and Obama's speeches.
“We are moving forward with this country if we put (Obama) back in the White House where he belongs,” she said.
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