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Saturday, September 22, 2012

 6:37 PM 

Obama targets Romney over '47 percent' comment

President Barack Obama today assailed Republican rival Mitt Romney for supporting the interests of the wealthy at the expense of the middle class as he spoke before an animated crowd of thousands at the Summerfest grounds in Milwaukee.

To a chorus of boos, Obama said Romney supports trickle-down economics.

"This country does not succeed when only a few do well," Obama said.

He knocked Romney for his comment about 47 percent of Americans not paying federal income taxes and being victims who depend on government.

"We can't move forward if we've got leaders who write off half of the nation," Obama said.

"I don't see any victims here," Obama said to loud applause. Instead, he said he saw hard-working Wisconsinites, college students, working single mothers, senior citizens, veterans and soldiers.

"We don't believe anybody is entitled to success," Obama said. "We don't believe government should help those who won't help themselves.

"But we do believe in opportunity," he said to cheers.

He said Romney aims to give tax breaks to the wealthy, while at the same time reducing the deficit. Doing so, Obama said, would come at the expense of the middle class.

"We need to bring down our deficit, but we don't need to do it by sticking it to the middle class," Obama said.

In contrast, Obama said he would return tax rates for those making more than $250,000 per year to the same levels they were at under President Bill Clinton.

"I want to keep your taxes low," Obama said. "I can afford to pay a little more, Mitt Romney can afford to pay a little more."

Obama pointed to economic success and outlined his plans for further improvement by boosting exports, investing in manufacturing, creating one million manufacturing jobs over the next four years, supporting higher education, including community and technical colleges, and cutting America's reliance on foreign sources of energy.

He said, however, that economic recovery won't be fast or easy.

"It's going to take a few years to solve challenges that have built up over a decade," Obama said.

But, he said, the country has the best workers, a diverse talent base and a strong educational system.

"There is not a country on earth that wouldn't trade places with the United States," he said

Obama also took time to address the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya that killed three Americans, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.

"We will bring those murderers to justice," Obama vowed.

On national security, Obama said he made good on his pledge to end the Iraq war and is winding down the war in Afghanistan. He said there is now a new tower rising at the World Trade Center site in New York, Al Qaeda is retreating in defeat, and Osama bin Laden is dead.

The crowd broke into cheers and chants of "U.S.A." in response.

The roughly 30-minute speech was briefly interrupted by rain.

Among those Obama pointed out in the crowd were Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin and Green Bay Packers Jermichael Finley and Desmond Bishop.

After the speech, Obama departed for the airport and was in the air at 6:15 p.m., according to a pool report.

-- By David Wise WisPolitics.com

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