September 8th, 2012
12:25 PM ET
2 years ago

Obama reelection message hits Florida

Seminole, Florida (CNN) - President Barack Obama took his “ready to go forward” message to Florida voters in his first stop Saturday on a bus tour through the swing state.

The president was introduced by former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who was once a Republican but is now an independent and an Obama supporter. Obama said Crist's backing proves “the values we are fighting for aren’t just Democratic values or Republican values, they’re American values.”

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The president reiterated the proposals on display at this week’s Democratic National Convention, including plans to create more jobs, expand energy production and improve educational opportunities in the United States.

“We can gut education like these other folks were recommending,” Obama told a crowd of roughly 11,000 at St. Petersburg College. “Or we can decide that in the United States of America, no child should have her dreams differed … higher education is not a luxury anymore, it is an economic necessity that everybody should be able to afford.”

The Seminole-based school was the oldest two-year college in the state before it transitioned to a four year institution in 2001.

National exit polls showed approximately 66% of voters between the ages of 18 and 29 voted for Obama in 2008, a level of support which Team Obama will no doubt hope to capture again four years later.

Obama organizers in the Sunshine State, a key battleground state the president captured in 2008, said they have only grown upon their 2008 ground operations, with an increase in field offices. But Team Romney waxed optimistic about enthusiasm for the former governor in the state. Jeff Bechdel, Romney’s Florida communications director, said the state campaign plans to contact their five millionth Florida voter Saturday.

Valerie Rey, a recipient of student loans and a Pell Grant, teaches sixth grade and said she is supporting the president for the second time because she wants those programs to be available for her students.

“They need to know that safety net will be there,” said Rey, who heard the president speak in person for the first time Saturday.

Jason Rock, an attendee at the event, backed Republican presidential nominee John McCain in 2008, but he is now firmly behind the president because “everything he does seems to work out for us in one way or another.”

The first-time homebuyer credit helped him purchase a home, and he received a Hope Grant and a Pell Grant.

But the campaign of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said young Americans “are not better off under President Obama.”

“It's the next generation that will be stuck footing the bill for President Obama's reckless spending that has led to record high debt,” Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said. “Mitt Romney will bring true reform to our education system that puts parents and students ahead of special interests and gives every child a chance to succeed.”


Filed under: 2012 • Florida • President Obama
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. soren

    BTW, why the hell is a college graduate hard on finances buying a house?

    September 8, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  2. Gurgyl

    Florida old coots, GOP idiots ban your SS, Medicare.

    September 8, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  3. park more

    Tge $ value is going down, thanks Obama

    September 8, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  4. soren

    For those who don't know... "hope grants" are a state of Georgia thing... if he things Obama had anything to do with it then this guy should not be voting.

    September 8, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  5. n

    Romney is forever touting how bad this president's policy are along with the government heavy spending but you never hear any real solutions coming from his mouth a bunch of empty rhetoric about what he can do better . . . "I saw a face in the crowd, saying nothing but talking loud" People, when are we going to wake up and cut folks like this Mitt the twit loose because he is a drag on these United States of America. Remember, "United We Stand, Divided We Fall" The Dems. are talking abut unity while the Repubs. are talking individuality which equals division.

    September 8, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  6. Michael

    Repuglicans are the liars! They cry for 4 years where are the jobs Mr President! But, voted against or fillibusterd or cried against every jobs bill President Obama presented them! These repuglicans extemist obstructionist, who are king of the fillibuster and "DOING NOTHING," for 4 years, but trying to make sure President Obama is a one term President! This despite of our countries woes economically, joblessness, housing, long and short term fiscal deficits! If this is "patriotism and love of country give me socialism!" Repuglicans are like a terror extremist group who goes after the weak, defenseless, using religion as a incendiary prop for its platform justification and ideology! American people and the media is at fault for this malarchy!

    September 8, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  7. myviewis

    Florida does not offer Hope Grants since this person is not from Florida but Georgia does offer Hope Grants so he must have gone to Florida to see Obama....."The first-time homebuyer credit helped him purchase a home, and he received a Hope Grant and a Pell Grant."

    September 8, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  8. Thomas

    Gov Jim Scott , why ?

    September 8, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  9. TNT

    Get out and VOTE!! Make sure young people VOTE!!

    September 8, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  10. Turning Blue

    I'm still waiting for R/R plans.......... I want details...............

    September 8, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  11. Namejkane sfl a vote for the gop will cut your moms medicare and soc sec .can you afford to pay for them???

    Let romney foot the bill, maybe you forgot, the gop did all the damage !!!!!even 96,000 is good compared to losing 800,000 a month under bush jobs going up under Obama and down under the gop , don't forget , the gop trashed the economic ,dah!!!! Fools!!!!

    September 8, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  12. Jim Doyle

    “Mitt Romney will bring true reform to our education system that puts parents and students ahead of special interests and gives every child a chance to succeed.” Sounds great. How exactly does he plan to do that? "Trust me. It's a secret plan?" Same as his secret plan to create 12 million jobs. Cut taxes on the 1% and destroy Medicare and Medicaid, and Social Security....yeah, that'll work!

    September 8, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  13. Namejkane sfl a vote for the gop will cut your moms medicare and soc sec .can you afford to pay for them???

    President Obama ,maybe you should ask lyin Ryan why he had to return a 60,000 campaign donation from a casino owner seeking another casino licence in his home state ,only after a federal investagation was launched and why lyin ryans name is in fed papers ?????

    September 8, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  14. Marty, FL

    As a former Republican myself, Gov. Crist's message resonates how much the GOP has sadly shifted to the far right.

    Pres. Obama fortunately represents more centrist balance.

    FL for Obama

    September 8, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  15. John

    Bill Bennett was the Secretary of Education under Ronald Reagan. To pay for the Reagan tax cuts. You can measure the decline in U. S. secondary education from that point.

    September 8, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  16. The Elephant in the Room

    It will be a pivotal moment in David Gregory`s career on Sunday when he interviews Romney on MTP. During the Bush years, "so-called" journalists lost there ability to do research and challenge Republican "talking points". "Interviews" became nothng but infomercials where the candidate had a microphone and could advance his spun version of events.

    Regarding Florida and it`s seniors, , GREGORY needs to ask Romney, "what precisely is your MediCare plan?"

    How much are you cutting, how much are you rassing taxes, which parties will absorb the impact of the changes? [patients or providers?] You see Ryan`s plan transfered costs onto PATIENTS backs; Obama`s Medicare plan curtialed outsized PROFITS by PROVIDERS.

    Dick Gregory, ask Mitt whose side he`s on and make him prove it.

    September 8, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  17. cavitena0628

    ..."Valerie Rey, a recipient of student loans and a Pell Grant, teaches sixth grade and said she is supporting the president for the second time because she wants those programs to be available for her students".

    If the economy is strong and everyone has a job, your students will not need any grants from the gov't. If there are jobs economy will be strong and if economy is strong parents can afford to pay and send their kids to schools and not just any school but schools of their choice. Stop relying on the gov't. Individuals should be responsible for their own success but success is only possible if the gov't (current or future) supports it instead of hindering it. Unfortunately, the Obama sees it differently: people should be dependent on the gov't making them crippled. BTW, I'm an independent and will take my chance on the other candidate this November. Insanity is voting for the same candidate and expecting a different result.

    September 8, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  18. Fredie

    Thank you president Obama.

    September 8, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  19. Laurent Haiti

    Education must b affordable for all cause "Education is the most powerful WEAPON which u can use to change the world"-NM

    September 8, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  20. upwardquest

    FORWARD WITH OBAMA!!! Thank you, President Obama, for helping me keep my home! And for all you do! I am voting for YOU!!!

    September 8, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  21. Jeff Edgmon

    I'm supporting Obama again, it's a no brainer. Something's up with this Romney dude, he leaves his convention, goes on a 3 day vacation, ( a tiny bit strange) gets on a boat virtually all by himself, (a little bit more strange, considering the size of his family.) and they find out someone is extorting him over his taxes??? ((Extremely strange)) You don't have to be a genius to figure out something's a miss with ole boy.

    September 8, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  22. Auwal umar zango

    Hi, Americans have a rethink in your mine, America and Americans are at safe hand with Democrats and OBAMA, GIVE HIM THE CHANCE.

    September 8, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  23. skokie

    Ms Amanda Henneberg - Mitt Romney will brign true reform to our Education System. BULL CRAP
    Romney's view on Education:
    I believe student should only be able to get as much Education as they can afford-Shop around-- Borrow from your parents are join the Military to get an Education. Of course the Ryan Budget will cut pell grant and Mitt Romney supports undoing student loan reform. TRUE REFORM FOR REAL.

    September 8, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |