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Obama speaks at George Mason and Cleveland State universities

Oct. 5, 2012 at 5:36 PM   |   Comments

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FAIRFAX, Va., Oct. 5 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama spoke at universities in Virginia and Ohio Friday, telling crowds "we're moving forward again."

"Today, I believe that as a nation, we're moving forward again," Obama said at a campaign event at Cleveland State University. "When I was sworn into office, we were losing 800,000 jobs a month. Now our businesses have added 5.2 million jobs over the past 2 1/2 years."

Also in Cleveland, Obama stopped at the Cleveland West Side Market. There he met business owners and asked them about the challenges in running their various small businesses.

Earlier Friday, Obama made a campaign stop at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., where he delivered much of the same speech.

"More Americans entered the workforce. More people are getting jobs," he said.

The U.S. Labor Department reported the economy added 114,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent, its lowest level since early 2009. The positive economic news came two days after a lackluster performance by Obama during a debate with Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Still, too many Americans are out of work and struggling to pay their bills, Obama said.

"They were struggling long before the crisis hit but today's news certainly is not an excuse to try to talk down the economy to score a few political points," Obama said. "It's a reminder that this country has come too far to turn back now."

He repeated his cautionary comment that the presidential election Nov. 6 isn't between two candidates but between "two fundamentally different visions for America."

"And today, I believe that as a nation, we are moving forward again," he said. "We're moving forward."

Obama vowed he "won't allow" the country "to return to the policies that led to the [economic] crisis in the first place. I can't allow that to happen."

Obama repeated his call to invest in small business and manufacturing, recruit math and science teachers, training workers at community colleges, lowering the cost of college tuition and reducing the country's dependency on foreign energy.

"We need to use the savings from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to help pay down our deficit and put people back to work, doing some nation building right here at home," Obama said. "That's the agenda we need."

He also repeated his call to allow tax-rate reductions for the wealthy enacted during George W. Bush's presidency to expire, while keeping the rate cuts in place for the middle class.

Obama jabbed at Romney his "top-down economics that we've seen before. He thinks that if we just spend another $5 trillion on tax cuts that, yes, skew toward the wealthiest, if we get rid of more regulations on Wall Street, then our problems will be solved. Jobs and prosperity will rain down from the sky, the deficits will magically disappear; we will live happily ever after."

Obama also noted that Romney "has had a little trouble explaining just how it would work without blowing a hole in the deficit or making middle-class families pick up the tab."

But Romney did say he'd eliminate Public Broadcasting System funding, Obama said.

"So for all you moms and kids out there, don't worry, somebody is finally getting tough on Big Bird," Obama said. "Rounding him up. Elmo's got to watch out, too."

Obama also discussed issues not debated Wednesday that affect women.

"When it comes to a woman's right to make her own health care choices, they [the Republican Party] want to take us back to the policies of the 1950s," Obama said, discussing how the Affordable Care Act benefits women. Romney wants to repeal Obama's signature healthcare reform legislation.

Decisions affecting women's health reside with women, not politicians or insurance companies he said.

Since women make up nearly half the work force and an increasingly are the family breadwinner, "these are not just health issues or women's issues, these are economic issues that are vital and affect every family in America," Obama said.

"They matter."

Ever since he's been campaigning, Obama said he preached that real change takes time and takes more than one party.

"It certainly can't happen if you're willing to write off half the nation before you even take office," he said.

"If we rally around a new economic patriotism together, if we reclaim our values, we will rebuild this economy," Obama said. "We'll strengthen the middle class. We'll keep moving forward."

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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