President Barack Obama, who visited Milwaukee last Saturday, delivered a campaign re-election speech touching on the economy, creating jobs and improving education.
Joseph Bucklley from Racine, Wis., was one of over 18,000 spectators at the Marcus Ampitheatre.
“He did a good job talking about the economy,” Bucklley said. “It’s a hard time for everybody, but if we stay focused we can make jobs.”
People were let into the Summerfest grounds at 2:30 p.m., and waited three hours for the president to take stage. Signs with Obama’s “Forward” campaign slogan were handed out to audience members who chanted “four more years” throughout the speech.
This was Obama’s first visit to Wisconsin since February.
Obama connected with the Wisconsin audience by complimenting Milwaukee’s bratwursts and pointing out distinguished members of the crowd: Jermichael Finely and Desmond Bishop of the Green Bay Packers.
Being from Illinois and a Chicago Bears fan, Obama said, “all I could say to them is it’s a long season … it just goes to show you we are not as divided as some people think. We are not Bears fans first, or Packers fans first, we are Americans first.”
After the excitement of the crowd died down from his awaited entrance, Obama discussed issues he promised to tackle if re-elected.
The receptive crowd chanted on queue throughout the speech. Even through a light rain, Obama insisted to continue his speech.
Boosting economy through middle class
His first topic being the U.S. economy, Obama said his new tax code requires individuals with incomes above $250,000 to pay higher tax rates, allowing tax breaks for the middle class.
The president cited Bill Clinton to explain his reasoning for this tax code.
“That’s the rate we had when Bill Clinton was president, and our economy created nearly 23 million new jobs,” Obama said. “We went from deficit to surplus; and by the way, we created a whole lot of millionaires to boot.”
Obama said when the middle class has extra money from lower taxes, they will spend it, therefore boosting the economy.
“We don’t build the economy from the top down,” Obama said. “We build it from the bottom up, from the middle out. That’s what we’re fighting for.”
As Obama was discussing his plans for the economy, an audience member shouted “We love you, Obama!” to which he responded “I love you back. That’s why I want to make sure you’ve got a good deficit reduction plan.”
In order to help boost the economy, Obama said he plans to create more jobs in the U.S.
One of his main focuses is to bring manufacturing back to the U.S., rather than work with foreign companies.
“We’ve already created more than half a million new manufacturing jobs,” Obama said. “So now what we have to do is stop giving tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas.”
Another way Obama said he plans to create jobs is by investing in natural energy and fuel.
“We want to put construction workers back to work, building homes and factories that use and waste less energy,” Obama said. “We want to develop a 100-year supply of natural gas. We want to cut our oil imports in half by 2020 and create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the process.”
During his speech, Obama said he would like to recruit 100,000 math and science teachers, as well as improve early childhood education and keep college and university tuition costs down.
“No family should have to set aside a college acceptance letter because they don’t have the money,” Obama said. “I wouldn’t be standing here unless I got a great education. It was the gateway of opportunity for me and for Michelle and for so many of you.”
Throughout his speech, Obama referred to Mitt Romney, his republican competition, to which the audience’s reaction was always a unanimous “boo.”
“Don’t boo – vote,” Obama responded.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Wisconsin Sen. Herb Kohl and Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin also spoke on Saturday prior to Obama’s speech. All encouraged the audience to help spread the word about the Democratic candidate and highlighted the importance of voting.
“The path I’m offering is not going to be quick,” Obama said. “It’s going to take a few years to solve challenges that have built up over decades, but I want everybody here to understand there’s no problem we cannot solve.”
Also on Saturday, the Republican rally “Yes, we did build this!” was held in Waukesha, Wis. Hosted at the Waukesha County Expo Center, the event featured speakers including Sen. Ron Johnson and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch.
Romney has been in Wisconsin twice since the primaries. His wife Ann gave a speech at Marquette University this past Thursday.
Other Republican events have recently taken place locally in Wisconsin. Andy Jorgensen, who is running for state assembly, will welcome Milwaukee Mayor Barrett on Oct. 2 to Janesville. The event will be from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Milwaukee Grill.
Jorgensen’s opponent, Rep. Evan Wynn, received support from Jefferson County Republican Women who hosted an event last Thursday at The Black Sheep Restaurant.
Bryant Plank, president of College Democrats was present at Obama’s speech on Saturday.
College Democrats and College Republicans were not available for comment before deadline.