Obama in NH: 'Don't Boo' Romney, Just Vote
In return to battleground state, the president says four electoral votes are a key to victory.
It didn't take long for President Obama to go after his GOP presidential opponent Mitt Romney at a packed rally in Manchester, attacking what he called the former Massachusetts governor's "PowerPoint plan for the economy."
Much of the crowd of about 6,000 streamed into Veteran's Park three hours early, anxious to hear the president's follow-up to what several Democrats in the audience called a successful debate on Tuesday.
Obama sliced the five-point plan that Romney touted two days ago, repeating his comment from the debate that it is more like a "one-point plan."
"Those at the top play with a different set of rules than you do," he said on the plan. "They can pay lower taxes, they can keep their money offshore, they can buy companies and load them up with debt, lay off workers, strip their pensions (and) send their jobs overseas."
Obama said Romney took another swing on Tuesday at explaining his $5 trillion tax cut and "whiffed" on it.
"Instead of telling us how he'd pay for it, he said 'I'll let you know after the election,'" Obama said.
"When a politician tells you he's going to wait until after the election, it's not because the plan is so good that they don't want to spoil the secret," he added. "That's usually not what's going on."
Obama went on to slam Romney's jobs plan, where the GOP hopeful has said that he wants to add 12 million jobs over the next four years.
"When folks started crunching the numbers, his jobs plan fell apart even faster than his tax plan," he said. In New Hampshire you've heard of the New Deal, the square deal, the fair deal – Mitt Romney is trying to sell you a sketchy deal."
The incident in Benghazi last month, which was contentiously debated on Tuesday, did not get mentioned in Obama's speech. But he did bash Romney's position on Iraq, saying that his opponent last week said that the United States should still have troops there.
"I think bringing our troops home after doing the job they did in Iraq was the right thing to do," Obama said. "You are the reason folks who serve us so bravely are now embracing their family and hearing those words – 'welcome home, welcome home, welcome home.'"
Obama called Romney's policies top-down, and those that got the country into a financial crisis.
On education, he said that Romney believes that hiring more teachers will not grow the economy.
On women's rights, Obama referenced Romney's "binders full of women" anecdote from Tuesday, which came while the Republican presidential nominee was discussing fair pay for women.
"We don't have to order up some binders to find qualified, talented...young women," Obama said.
The binder quote also came under fire while U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) addressed the crowd, where she said that Obama "doesn't need a binder to appoint women," referencing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as one of those women Obama assigned to his Cabinet right away.
Also psyching up the energetic audience was Gov. John Lynch, who said that Obama "truly understands that the American dream should be more than just a dream," and that it should be a "reality for anyone who wants to work for that dream."
The crowd was chanting from the moment the president took the stage, sending shouts of "four more years" and "Obama" to the podium throughout the 20-minute speech. When the audience booed the name Mitt Romney, Obama politely told them to stop booing, telling them not to boo, but rather to vote next month.
Gary Cameron, who came from Cape Neddick, Maine, is a registered Democrat who voted for President Obama last election.
He said that he is still in favor of Obama, calling this a “big election” that is all about where the country is at going forward.
Cameron also commented on Obama’s Tuesday debate performance in New York.
“I’m glad that he woke up,” he said, referencing a lackluster effort from the president in the first clash with Mitt Romney.
Muriel Soucy, a retired Manchester resident, said that she saw the president right in Veteran’s Park during the 2008 election cycle.
She has been volunteering for Obama in Manchester, and said that Medicare and the affordable care act are the primary issues for her.
“I think (the Affordable Care) act is going to help not only myself but it’s going to help a lot of people in our country,” she said.
She added that her confidence in the president has not diminished one bit during his four years in office.
Joe Bramante, a registered undeclared voter from Derry, whose niece, Doria, helped sing the National Anthem, held aloft a sign that read, "Omitt Romney." He said Romney's record as governor of Massachusetts was not nearly as good as his campaign purports. Obama, he added, is turning the country around after the recession.
"The economy is struggling," Bramante said, "but it's getting better."
Romney supporters outside of the Obama campaign event said the country is not better off than four years ago, and that change is needed. One of them, Warren Goddard of Manchester handed out leaflets that read: "The Obama administration's mandate issued under the Affordable Care Act requires Catholic institutions to offer health insurance that covers contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs."
"It's an assault on my church," he told a reporter, as a man repeatedly heckled him.
Goddard, a member of New Hampshire Right to Life, held up a sign, "Catholic: Yes, Obama: No," to those leaving Veteran's Park. He said he has no idea which candidate has the edge in New Hampshire with 19 days until Election Day. "The polls don't really mean anything," he said.
President Obama's time in New Hampshire was very brief. He is scheduled to fly out to New York for a fundraiser and an appearance on "The Daily Show."