July 18, 2012 at 5:45 pm
President Barack Obama begins a two-day, four-city swing of Florida on Thursday as he pushes what campaign officials have characterized as two fundamentally different visions of how to grow the economy, create jobs and pay down the nation’s debt.
Obama will visit Century Village West Palm Beach, a retirement community of 6,400 people, on Thursday evening.
“We’re very excited about the president coming,” said Phillip Ward, a West Palm Beach resident. “We have a good, good feeling about President Obama being re-elected.”
Much of the conversation at Century Village is expected to center on health care and protecting what supporters call secure and healthy retirements.
The visit is significant; in 2008, the president lost the vote of people over 65 by ten points.
“We want to make sure that our parents and grandparents and, ultimately, us — we — you, will be able to continue to live a productive and happy life as we live into our nineties,” said Jeri Muoio, City of West Palm Beach Mayor.
On Wednesday, Republicans in Florida launched a preemptive attack on the president.
“He’s bringing a street fight. Chicago-style politics,” said Lenny Curry, chair of the Republican Party of Florida. “The Republican Party of Florida is not going to play nice. He wants a street fight. His campaign wants a a street fight. We’re going to engage.”
Recent surveys of Florida voters showed Obama in a dead heat with presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
So far this election cycle, Romney and Republicans in Florida have raised $15.9 million — nearly double what Obama and Democrats have raised.
Nationwide, federal election filings showed Romney and Republicans raised more money in June than Obama and Democrats.
Obama could become the first president to be out raised by a challenger if the trend continued, political analysts said.