Milwaukee, Wisconsin (CNN) - Despite a strained voice and a hectic campaign schedule, President Obama's rhetoric was as lofty as ever when he took the stage before 20,000 supporters here Saturday afternoon.
Promising to be a voice in Washington, D.C. for voiceless Americans, the president told the crowd that those who listened closely to his speeches in 2008 should remember that "change we believe in is not just changing the president."
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"It's changing our politics," he said. "It's changing the system. I ran because the voices of the American people, your voices had been shut out of our democracy for way too long."
Using his message from 2008 to push back against Mitt Romney's claim that he's the true change candidate in this race, Obama said he's not done fighting for the change he promised four years ago.
"Kids dreaming of becoming scientists or doctors, engineers or entrepreneurs, diplomats, maybe a president they need a champion, because the future will never have lobbyists like the status quo does," the president said, exciting the crowd. "But the dreams of those kids will be our saving grace. That's what we're fighting for. That's what this election's about. That's why I need you."
At a time when fights in Washington are far from popular, Obama said that some fights are "fights that need to be had." And foreshadowing his approach to a budget showdown that looms over whichever candidate wins on Tuesday, the president pledged that if "the price of peace in Washington is cutting deals" that cut federal funding for student loans, Planned Parenthood or Medicaid than he'll continue to fight rather than seeking peace.
"That's not a price you should want your president to pay," Obama said. "That's not bipartisanship. That's not change. That's surrender to a status quo that doesn't work for middle class families and I'm not ready to give up on the fight."
Before the president took the stage, pop star Katy Perry riled up the crowd with a 30-minute performance that included a cover of Al Green's "I'm so in love with you." Participating in her third rally for the president's re-election campaign, Perry wore a blue dress adorned with the Obama campaign's "Forward" logo and performed in front of a huge video screen playing images of Obama.
Also participating in the pre-show was Wisconsin Democratic Congresswoman Gwen Moore, who reprised a controversial statement the president made at an event in Ohio on Friday by telling people who were angry about voter suppression efforts to "vote for revenge."
"Vote to avenge the fact that Republicans have tried to stop you from voting for the over two years," Moore said.
The Romney campaign has already produced a television ad featuring the president telling a crowd to "vote for revenge," spliced with a clip of Romney telling a crowd to vote for their country.