September 10, 2012 at 9:14 am
Palm Beach Post
Invoking Bill Clinton and touting a new Medicare study by a Democratic-leaning group, Presiden Obama wrapped up a two-day Florida campaign swing Sunday by urging an energetic crowd of about 6,000 at the Palm Beach County Convention Center to “go forward with me.”
In West Palm Beach and at a stop earlier in the day in Melbourne, Obama referred to Clinton’s 48-minute address at last week’s Democratic National Convention, which wowed party faithful and overshadowed Obama’s own acceptance speech.
“Somebody sent out a tweet: He needs to be made Secretary of Explaining Stuff,” Obama said in West Palm Beach after making a similar remark in Melbourne.
More than Clinton’s words, Obama sought to hearken back to the income tax rates and economic conditions under Clinton, who left office after two terms in January 2001.
“I’m willing to do more with Republicans,” Obama said. “I want to reform our tax code so it’s simple and fair, but I also think it makes sense for folks like me to pay higher taxes on our income over $250,000 the same way Bill Clinton had when he was president. The same way he created 23 million new jobs and the biggest budget surplus in history.”
Obama also reminded his audiences of one of the biggest applause lines from Clinton’s convention speech.
Clinton said that when he was asked how the government was able to produce a budget with a surplus during his presidency, “I always give a one-word answer: Arithmetic.”
In Melbourne, Obama slammed Republican nomineeMitt Romney’s budget plan by saying, “President Clinton pointed out that the single biggest thing missing from my opponent’s plan is arithmetic.”
Campaigning in the senior-heavy Sunshine State, Obama brought up familiar Democratic criticism of Republican plans to allow future retirees to opt out of traditional Medicare by instead taking a federal subsidy to buy private health insurance.
“I want you to know, Florida, I will never turn Medicare into a voucher,” Obama told a crowd of about 3,000 at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne.
In West Palm Beach, Obama referred to a recent study by the liberal Center for American Progress Action Fund that says the Republican plan would bring steeper out-of-pocket costs for future retirees.
That study says a person who turns 65 in 2023 would see $59,500 in additional Medicare costs over his lifetime under the Republican plan. The figure would be $124,600 from those who turn 65 in 2030, the study says.
The study’s authors include Harvard economist David Cutler, who was a senior health care adviser to Obama.
“President Obama’s latest false attacks are a sign of desperation,” Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said. “Only one candidate in this race has robbed today’s Medicare of $716 billion to pay for Obamacare — Barack Obama. He has done nothing to reform Medicare for the long haul and prevent it from going bankrupt, and on his watch family health care premiums have increased by nearly $2,500.
“The President’s decision to use discredited studies and outright falsehoods to attack Mitt Romney is an admission that he can’t talk about his record of crushing the middle class and failing to turn the economy around.”
The Romney campaign also arranged for John Bolton, the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, to appear in West Palm Beach to counter Obama’s message. Bolton, in an interview with The Palm Beach Post, said Obama doesn’t deserve credit for the 2011 killing ofOsama bin Laden.
“Osama bin Laden was killed while Obama was president but not because of it,” Bolton said. “This was a long effort that really our military and intelligence can take credit for. Killing Osama bin Laden, I like comparing to Aldrin and Armstrong landing on the moon. It was the summer of ’69, six months into Richard Nixon’s presidency. It’s like him taking credit when John Kennedy started a program in 1961 of landing a man safely on the moon and returning to earth.”
Just two days before the 11th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, Obama mentioned the killing of bin Laden in both his Sunday speeches.
“I said I’d end the war in Iraq and I did,” Obama said. “I said I’d begin bringing troops from Afghanistan, and we are. And while a new tower rises about the New York skyline, as we pause to remember those that were lost this coming Tuesday on September 11, we know that Al Qaeda is on the path to defeat and Osama bin Laden is dead.
Obama traveled by bus with a large motorcade between Melbourne and West Palm Beach. He stopped at Big Apple Pizza in Fort Pierce, where an overjoyed owner Scott Van Duzer hugged Obama and lifted the president off the ground.
Obama then stopped at a storefront campaign office in Port St. Lucie and placed thank-you calls to two campaign workers: Barney Roberts of Jacksonville and Dina Heffernan of Boca Raton.
In West Palm Beach, Obama asked for patience in dealing with the economy. A jobs report Friday showed unemployment at 8.1 percent — the 43rd consecutive month the jobless rate has been 8 percent or higher.
“I won’t pretend that the path I’m offering is easy. I never did. These problems built up over decades. They’re going to take more than a few years to solve. But we can move forward in the right direction,” Obama said.
“I’m asking you to go forward with me,” Obama told the crowd. He also reminded locals of the importance of Florida in this year’s election. Obama could win reelection without the Sunshine State, but any scenario for a Romney victory includes Florida.
“If we win Palm Beach County, we will win Florida,” Obama said. “And if we win Florida, we will win this election.”