President Barack Obama spent time in Chicago this weekend where he hosted fundraisers on the South Side, celebrated his belated birthday of August 4th and slept in his own bed. The president’s weekend trip back home was his first overnighter since being here for the NATO summit and the first time he’d stayed at his Kenwood home since months before that.
The president fired up members of his base of supporters Sunday at the Bridgeport Arts Center at 35th Street and Racine Avenue. Those who attended shelled out at least $50 and got to be in the crowd on the fifth floor of the building as the president beckoned their support.
“I’m not just asking for your vote, I’m asking for your work,” said Obama, who turned 51 on Aug. 4.
His remarks before the hundreds of supporters at the art center were some of the first since the presidential race became an equal two-man vs. two-man race. Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney announced Saturday U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate.
Obama halted the crowd’s boos of Ryan, calling the Tea Party lightning rod a “decent man … a family man.” But that was the extent of Obama’s niceties. He blasted Romney’s vision for the country, throwing Ryan into the fray by association.
“He’s (Ryan) an articulate spokesman for Governor Romney’s vision. But it’s a vision that I fundamentally disagree with,” Obama said to cheers.
With less than three months to go before election day, Obama explained why he’s running for reelection — mostly, he said, to restore the middle class. He drew strong applause when he pointed out that he bailed out the now-thriving auto industry. And his mention of women being able to access and afford preventive care as part of their health care through the Affordable Care Act that the Supreme Court recently upheld drew a rousing response.
“I think it’s the right thing to do for everybody to be able to get preventive care, including women who can have some control over their own health care decisions,” the president said.
A Gallup poll at press time has the president and his opponent in a 46 percent tie to win the election. Obama continued Sunday to insist on another term to go “forward” with his plans for the country.
Other polls cast the president significantly ahead of his Republican contender on such issues as popularity and likability. And Obama out-races Romney on foreign affairs poll wise. However, the two candidates take it to the mat on the economy. Romney accuses Obama of copious spending while the president says his opponent’s plan guts the middle class while upholding tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans.
Jason Mercer attended the fundraiser Sunday and he has seen “progress” for the country under the Obama administration. He points to the troops pulled out of Iraq and some of the federal financial regulations put in place.
“I think that four more years of (Obama) getting things done would be very beneficial,” he told the Chicago Citizen.
Bria Bailey has a mound of student loans. She was watching closely at the volleys between the White House and Congress on the student loan interest increase.
She’s going with the incumbent in November.
“Being part of the middle class you definitely feel that pressure of … carrying America’s back,” Bailey told the Chicago Citizen. “The president needs another four years to complete something that took eight-plus years for us to get into.”
By Rhonda Gillespie