President Obama didn't waste any time going after his presumed opponent Mitt Romney now that the general election is underway. The President officially kicked off his campaign with a stop in Columbus, OH this Saturday and went straight after Romney for everything from laying off workers, to tax avoidance, to union busting, to wanting to lower his own taxes while cutting investments that help the working class and for his now infamous line that "corporations are people."
President Obama began speaking at a campaign rally at the Value City Arena-Schottenstein Center in Columbus, Ohio, shortly after 1 p.m. ET on Saturday. The run-up to the rally included an number of video pieces that emphasized the importance of organizing and the successes from the 2008 Obama campaign’s grassroots field work that became the hallmark of his effort.
“We are going to win this thing the old fashioned way: door by door, block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood,” Obama said, adding later some contrasts between himself and his likely Republican challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
“Gov. Romney has much to be proud of. He’s run a large financial firm and a state. But I think he’s taken the wrong lessons from those experiences. He sincerely believes that if CEOs and wealthy investors make money, the rest of us will automatically prosper as well,” Obama said, citing Romney’s support for traditional Republican ideas policies like tax cuts that they say will spur growth. He also hit Romney on one of his gaffes along the campaign trail, when the former governor told a hostile crowd in Iowa, “Corporations are people, my friend.”
“I don’t care how many times you try to explain it – Corporations aren’t people. People are people,” Obama said, getting huge applause from the crowd.
As TPM also noted, there are some pretty stark contrasts between the rallies being held by the two candidates right now -- Obama Rally Vs. Romney Rally: What’s Different?:
RICHMOND, Va. – On Saturday, President Obama officially kicked off his general election campaign with a pair of big rallies on college campuses – one in Ohio and one on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University here in Virgina’s capital.
Now that both Obama and Mitt Romney are in their full general election swing, some contrasts can be drawn between Obama events and Romney events. Some takeaways:
• Size: The Obama campaign told reporters the president drew 14,000 to his first rally of the day in Ohio and 8,000 to his rally at VCU. While the Ohio speech left about 4,000 empty seats in the arena on the campus of Ohio State University, both crowds dwarfed anything Romney’s been able to draw so far.
• Passive vs Active: Supporters at Obama’s rally in Virginia were given homework – the campaign and the speakers on stage (including Obama) urged them to sign up with the campaign and register voters. First Lady Michelle Obama even reminded the college kids in the audience to change their registrations if they’re moving over the summer. Everywhere you turned, supporters were being asked to hand the Obama campaign a phone number, address or social media account handle.
This is not the scene at a Romney rally, generally. While campaign staff often sign up supporters with clipboards, voter registration booths and social media stations (both fixtures of Obama’s Virginia rally) are nowhere to be found. And Ann and Mitt Romney rarely, if ever, talk about voter registration.
• Diversity: If the two Obama rallies on college campuses Saturday are any judge, the president is once again facing a capaign cycle where his crowds are much more represenative of America’s population than his opponent’s. All ages and races were represented in the thousands of faces at VCU and Obama got big cheers when he reminded the assembled of the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and his continued support for the DREAM Act. Romney’s crowds, by contrast, tend to be whiter and older. Romney has made a big push recently to appeal to women and has promised to do more to appeal to the Latino vote as well. But for now, the diversity is found at Obama’s rallies.
Transcript of a portion of the President's speech via CNN:
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Governor Romney is a patriotic American who has raised a wonderful family and he has much to be proud of. He's run a large financial firm and he's run a state. But I think he has drawn the wrong lessons from those experiences.
He sincerely believes CEOs and wealthy investors like him make money the rest of us will automatically prosper as well. When a woman in Iowa shared the story of her financial struggles, he responded with economic theory.
He told her our productivity equals our income. Well, let me tell you something, the problem with our economy isn't that the American people aren't productive enough. You've been working harder than ever.
The challenge we face right now, the challenge we 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. Governor Romney doesn't seem to get that.
He doesn't seem to understand maximizing profits by whatever means necessary, through layoffs or tax avoidance or union busting might not always be good for the average American or for the American 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? Why else would he want to slash the investments that have always helped the economy grow?
But at the same time stop regulating the reckless behavior on Wall Street that helped the economy crash. Somehow he and his friends in Congress think that the same bad ideas will lead to a different result.
Or they are just hoping you won't remember what happened the last time we tried it their way. Well, Ohio, I'm here to say, we were there, we remember, and we are not going back. We are moving this country forward!
But we want businesses to succeed. We went entrepreneurs and investors rewarded when they take risks, when they take 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.
We measure prosperity not just by our total GDP, not by how many billionaires we produce, but how well the typical family is doing, whether they can go as far as their dreams and hard work will take them.
We understand that in this country, people succeed when they have a chance to get a decent education and learn new skills. And by the way, so do the businesses that hire them or the companies that they start.
We know that our economy grows when we support research into medical breakthroughs and new technologies that lead to the next internet app or lifesaving drug.
We know that our country is stronger when we can count on affordable health insurance and Medicare and Social Security. When we protect our kids from toxic dumping and mercury pollution, when there are rules to make sure we aren't taken advantage of by credit card companies and mortgage lenders and financial institutions.
And we know these rules aren't just good for seniors or kids or consumers, they are good for business, too. They are part of what makes the market work. Look, we don't expect government to solve all our problems, and it shouldn't try.
I learned from my mom that no education policy can take the place of a parent's love and affection. As a young man, I worked with a group of Catholic churches who taught me that no poverty program can make as much of a difference as the kindness and commitment of a caring soul.
Not every regulation is smart, not every tax dollar is spent wisely, not every person can be helped to refuses to help themselves, but that's not an excuse to tell the vast majority of responsible, hardworking Americans, you're on your own.
Unless you're lucky enough to have parents who can lend you money, you may not be able to go to college. Even if you pay your premiums every month, you're out of luck if an insurance company decides to drop your coverage when you need it most.
That's not how we built America. That's not who we are. We built this country together!