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'Will finish what we started': Obama seeks re-election

May 06, 2012 09:52 IST
President Barack Obama launched his re-election campaign with two back-to-back rallies in key battleground states of Ohio and Virginia wherein he introduced the slogan of "Forward" in an attempt to recreate his magic of four years ago that made him the first non-white US president.

Addressing impressive rallies in both Columbus in Ohio and Richmond in Virginia, Obama said "his agenda of change -- though has accomplished a lot -- is yet to reach its destination and thus he needs another chance."

Hitting hard at his presumptive Republican rival, Mitt Romney, Obama said Americans can't afford to give him a chance, alleging that their agenda was on steroids.

"Not now. Not with so much at stake. This isn't just another election. This is a make-or-break moment for America's middle class. We have been through much to turn back now. We have come too far to abandon the change we fought for these past few years," Obama said.

He was accompanied by the First Lady at both the rallies.

"Virginia, we have got to move forward, to the future that we imagined in 2008. We have got to move forward to that future where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules.

"That's the choice in this election. And that's why I am running for a second term as president of the United States of America," Obama said while repeating his new "Forward" slogan.

At these rallies, Obama received support with members from the audience shouting "Four More Years".

Obama said because of the steps taken by his administration since he came to power three years ago, the economy was on track.

"The problem with our economy is not that the American people aren't productive enough -- you have never been working harder in your lives. You are working harder than ever. The challenge we face right now -- the challenge we have faced for over a decade -- is that harder work hasn't led to higher incomes. It's that bigger profits haven't led to better jobs," Obama said amidst applause.

"And Governor Romney doesn't seem to get that. He doesn't seem to understand that maximising profits by whatever means necessary -- whether through layoffs or outsourcing or tax avoidance or union- busting -- might not always be good for the average American or for our economy.

"Why else would he want to spend trillions more on tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans? Why else would he propose cutting his own taxes while raising them on 18 million working families?" he said.

"I am here to say that we were there, we remember, and we are not going back. We are moving this country forward. We remember. Look, we want businesses to succeed. We want entrepreneurs and investors rewarded when they take risks, when they create jobs and grow our economy.

"But the true measure of our prosperity is more than just a running tally of every balance sheet and quarterly profit report. I don't care how many ways you try to explain it: Corporations aren't people. People are people," he said.

Obama said he was fighting for a bold and competitive America.

"A forward-looking America, where everybody has the chance to make of their life what they will. That's what made us the envy of the world. That's what makes us great. That's why I'm running again for president of the US," he said.

President Obama, in his rallies, acknowledged that his re-election was going to be closer than the last one.

"This election will be even closer than the last. Too many of our friends and neighbours are still hurting because of this crisis. I have heard from too many people wondering why they haven't been able to get one of the jobs that have been created, why their home is still underwater, why their family hasn't yet been touched by the recovery," he noted adding that he was expecting negative advertisements from his opponents.

"The other side won't be offering these Americans any real answers to those questions. They won't be offering a better vision. They won't be offering new ideas. But what they will do is spend more money than we have ever seen before, all on negative ads on TV and radio, in the mail, on the Internet -- probably tweeting a few negative ads out there somewhere -- ads that exploit people's frustration for my opponent's political gain.

"And over and over again, they will tell you that America is down and out, and they'll tell you who to blame," he said.

"We are going to have to contend with even more negative ads, with even more cynicism, more nastiness -- sometimes, just plain foolishness. It will be worse than we saw in the last campaign. We know, because we've seen some of the foolishness over the last three and a half years," Obama said.

"... will finish what we started. We are still fired up. We are still ready to go. And we are going to remind the world once more why it is that the US is the greatest nation on Earth," said the US president.

Lalit K Jha in Washington, DC
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