Speaking at a rally in St. Petersburg, Fla., the president said his plan for recovery from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression "may be harder, but it leads to a better place."
"When our opponents say this nation is in decline, they are dead wrong," he said. "This is America. We still have the best workers in the world and the best entrepreneurs in the world. We've got the best scientists and the best researchers. We've got the best colleges and the best universities. We are a young nation with the greatest diversity of talent and ingenuity from every corner of the globe. So no matter what the naysayers may say for political reasons, no matter how dark they try to make everything look, there's not a country on Earth that wouldn't gladly trade places with the United States of America."
With Saturday's Gallup poll showing him leading Republican nominee Mitt Romney 49-45 -- a one-point increase from Friday -- Obama repeated his theme that Republicans are proposing "the same prescriptions that they've had for 30 years: Tax cuts, tax cuts, gut a few regulations, some more tax cuts. Tax cuts when times are good. Tax cuts when times are bad."
When someone in the audience yelled out, "It doesn't help," Obama said: "Now, listen, actually it does help when you give it to folks who need it. That's why I've cut taxes for middle-class families and for small business owners 18 times.
"But I don't believe, and you don't believe, that another round of tax breaks for millionaires is going to bring good jobs back to our shores, or pay down our deficit."
The appearance in St. Petersburg opened a two-day campaign bus tour in Florida. The president was to speak Saturday in Kissimmee, spend the night in Orlando and deliver remarks Sunday at campaign event in Melbourne and West Palm Beach before returning to Washington Sunday evening.
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