Calling this year’s race for president with Mitt Romney a “pretty intense campaign,” President Barack Obama said there are clear differences between Romney and himself.
The president spoke at Loudoun County High School in Leesburg Thursday evening because he believes its key to this year’s election.
“The choice that we face in November could not be bigger,” Obama said. “This is a choice between two fundamentally different paths for our country, two fundamentally different visions.”
And the crowd at Loudoun County High School Thursday evening for the president’s reelection campaign stop appeared to prefer Obama’s.
“I think he’s the best candidate for the future, for my children,” said Jenny Rounds, who drove from Centreville with her children to hear Obama speak.
What’s more, those gathered for the president do not think Romney—who has come under fire even from Republicans for not releasing more than his two most recent tax returns—can relate to them.
“I just don’t think he’s in touch with the majority of the American people,” said Sarah Cunningham about the president’s Republican rival, whom she also called “misguided.”
While Romney supporters have focused on the still-sagging economy, Obama touted accomplishments, such as helping the auto industry and passing his signature health care initiative, but admitted there’s a long way to go.
“Nobody’s satisfied with our pace of growth,” he said, but suggested Romney’s policies benefit only the wealthy. “Every time we’ve grown, it hasn’t been from the top down. It’s been from the middle out.”
A primary divide between the two major political parties at the moment centers on the renewal of Bush-era tax reductions. While Republicans want to extend the breaks for all income levels, most Democrats and Obama prefer extending the cuts only for those making less than $250,000.
“He’s asking you to pay more so folks like him can pay less,” Obama said. “They’ve shown us this trickle down, tax cut, fairy dust before. We need tax cuts for working Americans.”
Meanwhile, the president said Americans in his tax bracket to “contribute a little more.”
Critics have focused on Obama’s 2008 campaign promises, including a suggestion that voters would not want to reelect him if unemployment remained above 8 percent, which it has.
“We know we’ve more to do, but it gives a sense what it’s like to move forward and not back,” he said, adding that $1 trillion has been trimmed from the budget and more than 4 million jobs have come back during his term.
“Are we going to be better off if we keeping moving forward?” he asked the crowd. “That’s what this election is all about. That’s what I believe.”
One man who described himself as a Republican seemed to be leaning toward Obama for a second election.
“My big concern is the national debt,” said Mark Shupe, who considers that a potential national security threat. Much of the debt increased from wars the country recently has fought.
“I don’t know of any time in the history of our country that cuts taxes when you wage two different wars,” Shupe said.
Michael Fehr, 22, of Leesburg, attended the event with his brother Joe, 18. Both plan to vote for Obama.
“He’s definitely a man of passion,” Michael said, adding that he has little confidence in the alternative. “I just think Gov. Romney comes off as aloof sometimes.”
In 2008, Obama won Loudoun County with 53.7 percent of the votes.