“After the last presidential debate where maybe it wasn’t his finest hour, he is definitely back full force, he’s ready to win this election, and he has all the students here,” said Rouco. The President did seem to use the opportunity as a chance to fight back on positions Governor Mitt Romney stated during the presidential debate Wednesday, October 3.
Referencing a point Romney made during the debate about eliminating public broadcasting funding to tackle the deficit, Obama said: “My opponent says over and over that he can cut taxes, increase military spending, close the deficit, but the only thing that he’s pointed to that he can get rid of is Big Bird.”
The remark was a real crowd pleaser but not more so than the many references the president made to the challenges students face today paying back student loans, getting health insurance, and finding living wage jobs after graduation. “Education is the only reason that I am standing here today,” said Obama.
“Education is the gateway to a middle class life. Governor Romney says hiring more teachers won’t grow the economy over the next four years. If that’s not the role of teachers, what about our kids over the next four years, what about our economy over the next 40 years? We cannot gut education and pay for five trillion dollar tax cuts. We need to recruit 100,000 new math and science teachers…and lower tuition costs for our young people. That’s what’s at stake in this election.”
Educator Jo Glover Thomas agreed in an interview following the speech. “I believe in what he’s laid out in his plan. Trying to get education back together as it should be, and what he’s doing for the poor, senior citizens, and the middle class, building the middle class and not this top down economics because it doesn’t work.”
Thomas was commenting on a point Obama made about the republican view that new tax cuts will pay for themselves. “That’s how we went from surplus to deficit. We have heard this pitch before, we know it doesn’t work…this is why I’m running for a second term.”
“Governor Romney said just a few weeks ago that it’s fair that he pays a lower tax rate than a teacher who is making $50,000 a year. He’s wrong. 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.”Obama encouraged the average American to not lose heart nor buy into the cynicism that what his presidency started cannot be done. “If you give up on the idea that your voice makes a difference, then other voices will fill the void: the lobbyists, the special interests, people with the 10 million dollar checks that are trying to buy this election…the ones that are trying to make it harder to vote.”
The President also addressed women’s issues, immigration, foreign policy, as well as declaring that he will continue to fight for every American, even those that did not vote for him last election. Crediting those in the audience that supported his 2008 win, he said they were the reason changes have been made.
“You’re the reason a student from Gainesville or Tallahassee or here at the U have help paying for their college education, why veterans can go to college now on a new G.I. Bill. You’re the reason a young immigrant who grew up here, and went to school here, and pledged allegiance before class, will no longer be deported from the only country that they call home.”