Speaking at a campaign event at the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel in Atlanta, the president criticized the economic views of his likely opponent in the fall election, Mitt Romney, saying the former Massachusetts governor's "basic vision is one in which if wealthy investors like him and folks at the very top are freed up from any kind of regulations, if they are maximizing their profits even if it means polluting more, or off-shoring jobs, or avoiding taxes, or busting unions -- whatever the strategies -- if they're doing well then everybody else is automatically doing well.
"That's their view," the Democratic president said. "I'm not making this up. It's on Mr. Romney's Web site. Members of Congress have put forward this plan. They voted for this plan. Their basic idea is we're going to eliminate regulations on everything; we are going to provide a $5 trillion tax cut on top of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans; and we're just going to let the market take care of the rest. And the presumption is that everybody here, everybody around the country, will share in this newfound prosperity."
But, Obama said, "That kind of top-down economics has never worked."
Obama said his vision is to bring manufacturing back to the United States, rebuild the nation's infrastructure and made education affordable for young people.
He said his vision includes making the United States energy self-sufficient, saying "we've got to double down on clean energy -- wind power and solar power" -- and to lighten the national debt by requiring the wealthiest Americans to pay "a little bit more."
"It's the basic idea that everybody gets a fair share, and everybody does their fair share, and everybody plays by the same set of rules," Obama said. "That's my vision for America."
Later in the day, speaking at a campaign event in Miami, the president congratulated the Miami Heat on winning the NBA championship and repeated the theme that he was running on what he called "the basic bargain that built this country, the essence of America, what created the largest middle class and the most prosperous economy on Earth."
"Now, the good news is the American people are tougher than tough times," the president said. "And over the last three and half years we've fought back."
Acknowledging the U.S. economy has "a long way to go," Obama said "the debate in this election is not whether we need to do better."
"Everybody understands the economy is not where it needs to be," he said. "A lot of folks are still struggling -- we've got to do better. The debate in this election, though, is about how do we do better -- how do we grow our economy faster?"
He said progress on the economy and deficits is being held back by "a stalemate in Washington."
"And you know who's going to break that stalemate? You," he told the crowd. "This election is your chance to move this country forward and make sure it does not go backwards."
Obama noted that the Romney campaign has tried to draw a distinction between outsourcing and offshoring of jobs, following a Washington Post report on Romney's business practices at Bain Capital.
"Now, if you're a worker whose job just went overseas, you really aren't looking for somebody to explain to you the difference between offshoring and outsourcing," he said. "What you need is somebody who's going to wake up every single day fighting for your job, fighting for American jobs."
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