President Barack Obama on Monday went after his presumptive Republican opponent Mitt Romney for espousing an economic vision that disregards the challenges facing middle class Americans.
Speaking at a campaign rally in New Hampshire, Obama portrayed the upcoming election as a battle to reclaim the basic ideals of an America made prosperous because of a strong middle class and an economy based on the proposition that anyone in the country can "make it here" if they try.
"This is a make-or-break moment for our middle class, and folks who are aspiring to get into the middle class," Obama said. "The next president and the next congress will face a set of decisions -- on the economy, on deficits, on taxes -- that will have a profound impact not only on the country we live in today, but the country that we pass on to our kids."
He added, "This election is your chance to move this country forward instead of seeing it go backwards. That's why I'm here. That's why I need your help."
Romney, Obama said, believes that the country should go back to the "top-down" policies of the previous decade, with a philosophy that espouses letting corporations maximize profits at any cost in the belief that it will automatically translate into jobs.
Making some of his most direct attacks yet on Romney's performance as leader of Bain Capital, a leveraged buyout firm, Obama cited a recent report that said Bain had been a pioneer in shipping American jobs overseas.
"So yesterday, his advisors were asked about this and they tried to clear this up by telling us there's actually a difference between 'outsourcing' and 'off-shoring,'" Obama said. "Now, what Governor Romney and his advisors don't seem to understand is this: If you're a worker whose job went overseas, you don't need somebody trying to explain to you the difference between outsourcing and off-shoring."
He added: "You need somebody who's going to wake up every single day and fight for American jobs and investment here in the United States. That's what you need. That's why I'm running."
Obama said that he, unlike Romney, wants to close loopholes in the tax code that profit companies moving jobs overseas and give tax breaks to domestic employers who create jobs.
But that specific example, Obama said, is not simply an isolated incident in Romney's past.
"What's important to understand is Governor Romney's commitment to outsourcing is not just part of his record," Obama said. "It's part of an overall economic vision that he and Republicans in Congress want to implement if they win this election."
The GOP economic plan backed by Romney, Obama said, consists of rolling back regulations and enacting tax cuts for the wealthy that would be paid for by large cuts to social programs, education and Medicare while raising taxes for the middle class.
"Think about this: To pay for another $250,000 tax cut for the average millionaire, they're going to ask you to foot the bill," Obama said. "I figure you can't afford it. Is there anybody here who can afford to pay thousands of dollars to give folks like Mr. Romney or me another tax cut?"
Obama added, "Unfortunately, that is their entire economic plan. That's it. When Mr. Romney tells us he's some sort of financial wizard who can fix our economy, that's exactly how he intends to do it."
Instead, Obama offered his own vision of a government that, while not trying to solve all the nation's problems, would create the conditions, through investment in infrastructure, worker training and education, for a future with broad prosperity.
"If you believe we need a plan for education and energy, for infrastructure and innovation; if you believe that our economy grows best when everybody has a fair shot and everybody is doing their fair share, and everybody is playing by the same set of rules, then I'm going to need you to stand with me as I run for a second term as President," Obama said.
He added, "Let's get to work. Let's finish what we started. Let's remind the world how a strong economy is built, and remind them why America is the greatest nation on Earth."
by RTT Staff Writer
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