Atlanta (CNN) - At a campaign event in Atlanta Friday night, President Barack Obama told supporters that the country needs them.
"I'm here today not only because I need your help, I'm here today because the country needs your help," Obama said at a gala fundraising reception hosted by the Obama for America African American Leadership Council.
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The event was held at Tyler Perry Studios. Perry, a television and film producer and actor, introduced the president to the crowd of almost 1,000 guests, saying that while he always had an active imagination as a child, he never imaged he would have the chance to introduce the President of the United States.
The reception was one of three fundraising events in Atlanta for the President on Friday. The other two were held at a private residence and at Perry's home. Prior to his appearances in Atlanta, the president campaigned in Chicago.
"There were a lot of reasons why so many of you decided to get involved and then work your hearts out in the campaign in 2008," Obama said. "You joined because of your commitment to each other and a vision that we share about America."
Obama encouraged the crowd to do the same this election cycle, saying in the three years he has been in office the country has started to see change. The president cited the auto industry bailout, the equal pay law signed in 2009, attacking the cycle of poverty, and the health care overhaul.
"You want to call it 'Obamacare', that's okay, because I do care. That's why we passed it, because I care about folks who were going bankrupt because they were getting sick," Obama said.
Without naming any Republican presidential candidates by name, the president did mildly attack the opposition when he said the "folks" running for president want to roll back the laws of his administration and promote policies where everyone was must fend for themselves - a plan he said doesn't work.
"This is not just another political debate. This is the defining issue of our time," Obama said. "What are we going to do to make sure that middle class families are secure and that we continue to build ladders for people who are trying to get to the middle class."
Obama said the economy is getting stronger and the country is on the right track, but he warned that "what we can't do is go back to the same policies that got us into this mess in the first place."
The president got a laugh from the crowd when he compared politics to a "bad reality show" with all the arguing and fussing, but then said the spirit of wanting to make the country better and the spirit that put him in office in 2008 still exists.
"I'm a little grayer now," Obama said. "I've got some bumps and bruises. I know that over the last three years there have been times where we've suffered setbacks and change hasn't come as fast as we would have liked. And people still got their old 'Hope' posters. It's fading a bit, but I told you then that change is not going to come quickly and that change is hard."
The president said he has kept his promise of trying to make lives of Americans a little bit better and then rallied the crowd to get back to organizing, emailing and knocking on doors to help the campaign as it heads to November.
"If you feel the same energy and determination as I do, and I feel it more know that I ever felt it in my life, then I promise you we will finish what we started," Obama declared.
After the reception, the president went to Perry's home for a private event. People gathered outside of the compound gate cheered, but few were waving Romney signs.