Obama: No student should have to set aside a college acceptance letter
Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02
Thousands flocked to Portsmouth last Friday to hear President Barack Obama speak at Strawbery Banke Museum, his first speaking engagement since accepting his party’s nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
As spectators sweated in the stifling, mid-80s heat, the president spoke at length of his commitment to strengthening the middle class, while promising further efforts for education reform and the affordability of higher education.
“Here in America, no child should give up her dreams because a classroom is overcrowded, or a school is crumbling,” Obama said. “No family should set aside that college acceptance letter because they figure they just can’t afford it.”
Obama stressed the importance of improving math, science and early childhood education, so younger generations will have the skills needed to compete with powers such as China.
“I don’t believe firing teachers or kicking students off financial aid is going to grow our economy – not when China is producing more engineers and more scientists and we’ve got to compete with them,” he said.
Obama listed education as the reason he and first lady Michelle Obama came to be where they are today. He said he wanted to work toward a country that would allow younger generations the same opportunities he was rewarded with through hard work and talent.
Education reform was one on a list of four goals that Obama outlined in his speech, which also included exporting more products and outsourcing fewer jobs, using more sustainable energy, and reducing the deficit without negatively impacting the middle class.
“Look, I’m not just asking for your vote,” Obama said. “I’m asking the entire country to rally around a set of goals for our country – goals in manufacturing, energy, education, national security and the deficit. And these – this is a real, achievable plan that will lead to new jobs and more opportunity, and rebuild this economy on a stronger foundation.”
Obama made it clear throughout his speech that this election was not just a choice between him and Republican opponent Mitt Romney, who spent Friday campaigning in Nashua, N.H.
“I honestly believe this is the biggest choice, the clearest choice, of any time in our generation, because it’s not just a choice between two candidates or two political parties,” he said. “It’s a choice between two different paths for America … two fundamentally different visions for how we move forward.”
Obama indicated that Romney’s plan would push the American people backward, instead of moving them forward.
“Our friends at the Republican Convention, they’ve talked a lot about what they thought was wrong with America; they didn’t tell you what was right,” he said. “They didn’t tell you what they’d do to make it right. They want your vote, but they don’t want to show you their plan.”
Obama continued to say that the Republicans’ plan would not work, and that their prescription for the country will be what he said it always has been – tax cuts.
“Tax cuts when times are good; tax cuts when times are bad. Tax cuts to help you lose a few extra pounds. Tax cuts to improve your love life,” he joked. “It will cure anything, according to them.”
Obama added that Romney’s plan to cut the deficit was missing a basic component: math.
“When you ask them, ‘Well, how are you going to do it?’ Well, they won’t answer real clearly, but there are only a few ways of doing it, and most of them involve sticking it to the middle class,” he said.
Obama concluded his speech by imploring attendees to vote and spread the word, warning that citizens should not believe their vote is meaningless, or that it won’t make a difference.
“We can’t turn away now,” he said. “You can’t buy into the cynicism that change that we fought so hard for is impossible. … Only you can make sure that we don’t go backwards. Only you have the power to move us forward.”
Obama was joined at the event by Vice President Joe Biden, his wife Dr. Jill Biden, and first lady Michelle Obama. New Hampshire politicians made an appearance as well, with former Sen. Jeanne Shaheen introducing Biden, and Gov. John Lynch introducing Obama.