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Obama gets a 'lift' in Florida

Sept. 9, 2012 at 8:58 PM   |   Comments

FORT PIERCE, Fla., Sept. 9 (UPI) -- President Obama, on the campaign trail in Florida Sunday, was embraced and lifted off his feet by a pizza shop owner.

When Obama arrived at the Big Apple Pizza & Pasta Restaurant in Fort Pierce there were only 10 customers inside and the owner, Scott Van Duzer.

"Scott, what's going on man," Obama said as he came through the door. "Scott, let me tell you, you are like the biggest pizza shop owner I've ever seen."

Van Duzer, 46, of Port St. Lucie, is 6-foot-3 and weighs 260 pounds, and told reporters he can press 350 pounds.

The president praised Van Duzer's muscular physique, and asked, "If I eat your pizza will I look like that?"

Van Duzer embraced the president and lifted him at least a foot off the ground.

"One of the reasons that we wanted to stop by is that Scott has been doing unbelievable work out of this pizza shop in promoting the importance of donating blood," Obama said. "And so he has set some records here in Florida. He has received commendations from the White House, the surgeon general, he has galvanized and mobilized the local community and he's educating kids and folks all across the country on this issue. So here's an example of somebody who is doing well but he's also giving back. So we just want to say how proud we are of him.

"I still wonder how he got these biceps, but what we know is that the guy's just got a big heart along with big pecs."

Van Duzer, a registered Republican, said he'd voted for Obama in 2008 and would do so again this year, The Washington Post reported.

The Democratic president wasn't able to win over everyone he met, however. Earlier at the Ossorio Bakery & Cafe in Cocoa, Obama approached a table of people and shook hands with Bill Terrell of Jay, Fla, who announced, "I'm a Romney supporter."

"That's OK. Is this a regular thing for you guys?" Obama asked.

"Every day," Terrell replied.

"Every day? You got the life now," Obama responded.

Terrell later told a reporter he was still going to vote Republican because while Obama "is personable, nice man ... I don't think he's gonna be able to get the economy going, and Romney will. "

Obama later delivered his wide-ranging stump speech at the Charles and Ruth Clemente Center at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne and at the West Palm Beach Convention Center in West Palm Beach.

Obama touted his "better path" on energy, and his efforts to boost the economy, keep the military strong, improve education and "cut taxes for folks who need it."

"For middle-class families, for small businesses," he said in West Palm Beach. "But I don't believe another round of tax cuts for millionaires are going to bring jobs back from overseas. I don't think another round of tax cuts for billionaires that involve slashing aid for students to pay for it, or asking middle-class families to pay more, that somehow that's going to reduce the deficit or help grow our economy."

In Melbourne, he attacked the Republicans again on Medicare, saying their voucher plan would bankrupt the program while his would strengthen it.

"No American should have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies," he said. "They should retire with the dignity and the respect and the care that they have earned.

"Yes, we will reform and strengthen Medicare for the long haul -- but we'll do it by reducing the cost of healthcare, not by dumping those costs on to seniors. We're not going to do that.

"And while we're at it, we're going to keep the promise of Social Security by taking responsible steps to strengthen it, not by turning it over to Wall Street."

Topics: Barack Obama
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