Obama plea for ‘more time’ aims to rally 2008 support
PRESIDENT Barack Obama will today tour the crucial battleground state of Florida to present to voters in person the same message he delivered to an enthusiastic audience at the Democratic party’s national convention: “I need more time.”
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In a rallying call to supporters during his speech in Charlotte, North Carolina, he attacked Republican challenger Mitt Romney and said the 6 November election was “the clearest choice of any time in a generation” .
“Our problems can be solved. Our challenges can be met. The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place, and I’m asking you to choose that future,” he said.
“I’m asking you to rally around a set of goals for your country, goals in manufacturing, energy, education, national security and the deficit, real, achievable plans that will lead to new jobs, more opportunity and rebuild this economy on a stronger foundation. That’s what we can do in the next four years, and that is why I am running for a second term.”
But with the election race inside its final two months and the candidates locked in a virtual dead heat, according to the polls, many analysts doubted the effectiveness of the rhetoric.
Newsweek’s Michael Tomasky called Mr Obama’s convention speech “dull and pedestrian,” Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal said it was “stale and empty. He’s out of juice,” and Time magazine’s Joe Klein said that while “the president gave a fine speech… he did not close the deal” on a second term in the White House.
Unlike Bill Clinton, who won a standing ovation for a rousing speech on Wednesday night, Mr Obama steered mostly clear of policy detail.
Instead, he never strayed far from his theme of having started a job during his first term that he now needed a second to complete.
“When governor Romney and his friends in Congress tell us we can somehow lower our deficits by spending trillions more on new tax breaks for the wealthy, well, what did Bill Clinton call it? You do the arithmetic. You do the math,” Mr Obama said.
“I refuse to go along with that, and as long as I’m president, I never will. I refuse to ask middle-class families to give up their deductions for owning a home or raising their kids just to pay for another millionaire’s tax cut. I refuse to ask students to pay more for college or kick children out of head-start programmes to eliminate health insurance for millions of Americans who are poor and elderly or disabled all so those with the most can pay less.”
Steven Greene, professor of political science at North Carolina State University, said Mr Obama was trying to keep on board supporters from the 2008 election. “He’s saying that while things were hard, we are on the right track and I need more time, while the Republicans are going the wrong way down that track,” he said.
Bill Crotty, a political science professor at Boston’s Northeastern University, said Mr Obama was eclipsed by Mr Clinton, who gave “one of the most brilliant speeches at any convention. It was off the charts great.”
Otherwise, the president performed well, Mr Crotty said. “He set the agenda. He did what he needed to do to get the campaign going.
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