President Barack Obama made a personal appeal to about 2000 people crowded in the Cornell College Fieldhouse today for a campaign rally.
“Iowa, are you going to vote for me today if you haven’t already voted?” Obama asked and the crowd cheered. Obama responded: “All right. I need you.”
Sidewalks on the Mount Vernon campus are decorated with chalk signs, pointing the way to a satellite voting station open today only for those who want to cast their ballot on campus.
“You can go vote right after this event, at the Cole Library,” Obama told the crowd.
That satellite voting station was just around the corner from the hall where the rally was held. Obama spoke to the crowd for more than half an hour, dwelling on many of the issues aired during his Tuesday night debate with Mitt Romney.
“Let’s recap what we learned last night. His tax plan doesn’t add up. His jobs plan doesn’t create jobs. His deficit reduction plan adds to the deficit, so Iowa — you know, everybody here has heard of the New Deal. You’ve heard of the Fair Deal. You’ve heard of the Square Deal. Mitt Romney’s trying to sell you a Sketchy Deal,” Obama said. The crowd laughed, then started cheering as Obama continued: “We’re not buying it. We know better.”
The Romney camp responded. Shawn McCoy, a spokesman for Romney’s Iowa’ campaign, said Obama admitted last night that under his own jobs plan, “there are some jobs that are not going to come back.” McCoy said the president “has no new ideas, no vision for the future and is simply giving up.”
One of the most memorable lines in last night’s debate came when Romney said he asked for and reviewed “binders full of women” who were qualified to serve in state government in Massachusetts. Obama referenced that remark today in Mount Vernon, right after the president said it should be a “national mission” to make sure “our daughters as well as our sons” are thriving in math and science.
“I’ve got to tell you, we don’t have to collect a bunch of binders to find qualified, talented, driven young women ready to learn and teach in these fields right now,” Obama said, to cheers. “And when young women graduate, they should get equal pay for equal work. That should be a simple question to answer.”
After a widely criticized appearance in debate number one, Obama downplayed his performance in debate number two.
“I’m still trying to figure out, you know, how to get the hang of this thing — debating,” Obama said, and the crowd laughed. “But we’re working on it, you know. We’ll keep on improving as time goes on. I’ve got one left.”
Tomorrow, Bruce Springsteen will be featured at an Obama get-out-the-vote rally on the Iowa State University campus in Ames. Springsteen will perform an acoustic set. The sound track for most Obama campaign appearances includes one of Springsteen’s new standards — “We Take Care of Our Own” — and that song was played in Mount Vernon today as the president exited the room, shaking hands along the way.
A group of Romney supporters gathered along the route into the Cornell Fieldhouse. One wore a pink bunny costume to press the line that — just like the Energizer Bunny — the deficit under Obama “keeps going and going and going.”