by Kia Marie Green
Despite rain showers President Barack Obama delivered a rousing speech to an enthusiastic audience Saturday at Henry Maier Festival Park on the Summerfest Grounds.
An estimated 18,000 supporters waited nearly three hours to hear the president speak with excitement and anticipation. Gathered in a line that wrapped from the Marcus Amphitheater entrance of the Summerfest Grounds to the Milwaukee Art Museum and beyond, supporters discussed the importance of this election and the national imperative to return Barack Obama to the White House.
Wasting no time, the president gracefully took the stage to stirring applause and cheers. “I don’t see a lot of victims here today,” he said, “I see a lot of hardworking Wisconsinites.”
On a mission, the president discussed issues he promised to tackle if re-elected and addressed the differences between his platform and that of his opponent’s, Mitt Romney.
Focused on critical points – boosting the economy through the middle class, creating jobs and improving education – the President Obama eloquently and passionately stated his case. “…We’ve got a very big choice to make in this election. And it’s not just between two candidates or two parties; it’s a choice between two different paths for America, two different visions for our future. “
“Now my opponent, he believes in top-down economics,” the president began until interrupted by loud “boos” and chants from the crowd. The president’s reply: “Don’t boo — vote!”
Citing Romney’ s belief in building from the top down, the president said that’s a concept that’s been tried and proven to be of ill effect.
“We don’t build the economy from the top down,” he said. We build it from the bottom up, from the middle out. That’s what we’re fighting for.”
Adding: “We can’t move forward if we’ve got leaders who write off half the nation, calling them a bunch of victims who will never take responsibility for their lives.”
Obama outlined the new tax code, which requires individuals with incomes above $250,000 to pay higher tax rates, thus allowing tax breaks for the middle class. He said when the middle class has extra money from lower taxes, they will spend it, therefore boosting the economy and even cited former President Bill Clinton’s administration as evidence of such success.
On the topic of creating jobs, the president said one of his main focuses is to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States, rather than foreign countries.
“We’ve already created more than half a million new manufacturing jobs,” Obama said. “So now what we have to do is stop giving tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas.”
The president also said he plans to create jobs by investing in natural energy and fuel.
Focusing on the importance of education, the president said it is imperative that every child receive the opportunity to pursue a college education and no circumstances – especially not money – should deny our youth this right.
“I believe that in the United States of America, no child should have her dream deferred because of an overcrowded classroom,” Obama said. “No family should have to set aside a college acceptance letter because they don’t have the money.”
The president said he wants to recruit 10,000 math and science teachers, as well as improve early childhood education.
“Let’s give 2 million more workers the chance to get the skills they need at community colleges,” he said. “Let’s help colleges and universities keep tuition down.”
Underscoring that his path to addressing the nation’s problem will not be quick, but all the problems are solvable, especially with fight, determination and unity, the president said.
“I’m not fighting to create Democratic jobs or Republican jobs, I’m fighting to create American jobs,” the president said. “I’m not fighting to improve schools in red states or schools in blue states, I’m fighting to improve schools in the United States. I’m not fighting just on behalf of workers or businesses, or rich or poor, the 1 percent or the 99 percent. I’m fighting for American values. They belong to all of us.”
Rallying his base’s support, the president declared victory.
“If you get out there and work these last 45 days, if you’re willing to make some phone calls for me and knock on some doors for me and vote for me, we’ll win Milwaukee,” the president declared. “We’ll win Wisconsin. We’ll finish what we started, and we’ll remind the world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.”
Prior to the president speaking at the rally, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Wisconsin Sen. Herb Kohl and Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin also spoke. Each speaker encouraged the audience to help spread the word about the Democratic candidate and highlighted the importance of voting.