MILWAUKEE – In his final weekend of campaigning, President Barack Obama spoke to a Milwaukee crowd of about 20,000, contrasting what he said was his proven record of change with his Republican opponent’s tried-but-failed vision for growing the economy.
Prior to Obama’s speech, singer Katy Perry performed a concert in front of an Obama campaign video. She wore a shiny blue dress with white letters that spelled out “forward,” the word Obama’s campaign placed on his podium and on the rally signs the crowd held.
Obama, speaking with a somewhat hoarse voice, told the crowd his policies have been effective and are similar to what former President Bill Clinton implemented when he was in office.
On the other hand, Obama said former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney seeks to give tax breaks to the wealthiest and give insurance companies and Wall Street “free rein to do whatever they please.” These ideas, Obama added, were already tried by his predecessor and resulted in deficits, inequality, low job growth and the 2008 financial crisis.
“We know what works, and we know what doesn’t,” Obama said. “Gov. Romney… is a very talented salesman. So in this campaign, he’s trying as hard as he can to repackage the same old ideas that didn’t work and offer them up as change. … Here’s the thing, though: We know what change looks like.”
Part of this change, Obama said, is his record on higher education, including his doubling of funding for Pell Grants and his work on reducing tuition growth by half over the next decade.
He said he would never increase college costs in favor of tax cuts for the wealthy and gave his vision for education as one that can be accessed by students of all backgrounds.
“Kids dreaming of becoming scientists and doctors, engineers or entrepreneurs, diplomats – maybe a president, they need a champion because the future will never have lobbyists like the status quo does,” Obama said. “The dreams of those kids will be our saving grace. That’s what we’re fighting for. That’s what this election’s about. That’s why I need you, Wisconsin.”
The president visited Green Bay Thursday and scheduled a speech in Madison for Monday, the day before Election Day.
Obama’s frequent visits to Wisconsin have been an attempt to stop Romney’s “growing momentum” in the state, according to Ryan Hughes, spokesperson for the University of Wisconsin College Republicans.
He said students know better than to trust Obama’s “broken promises,” and students should vote for Romney because he seeks to grow the economy and create more jobs.
“No matter how many times he visits the state, we as students realize the economy his presidency has produced – high unemployment, especially among college graduates, growing national debt to be paid for by the next generation and rising costs of education,” Hughes said in an email to The Badger Herald.
Cade Clark, a senior at Loda High School, said he appreciates Obama’s work of making college more affordable, as he said his family cannot afford paying for his college, and he will need to take out loans.
Marquette University sophomore Tyler Tucky said he also supports Obama in part because of Obama’s record on higher education, adding he is also focused on improving K-12 education.
“I think he’s committed to education at the higher end but also at the lower end,” Tucky said. “Barack talked about that today. He talked about hiring more teachers and also slashing the costs of higher education.”