Obama spent most of his speech invoking better times in America, back when hard work was all that was required to move up. He invoked his own modest roots as the son of a single mother, recalling family vacations that involved Greyhound bus rides and stays at Howard Johnson motels.
“What makes us special is the idea that in this country, if you are willing to work hard, if you are willing to take responsibility for your own life, then you can make it if you try,” Obama said. “No matter where you come from, no matter what you look like, no matter how modest your beginnings, America has never been a country of handouts. We’re a nation of workers and doers and dreamers and risk takers. We work for what we get. And all we ask for as Americans is that our hard work pays off.”
But Americans have started to see that slip away, Obama said, thanks to GOP-backed policies to deregulate banks and credit-card companies and cut taxes on the wealthy.
“My opponent and his allies in Congress, they believe in top-down economics,” Obama said. “What they’re really saying is tax cuts for the wealthy, roll back the regulations. That’s essentially their plan. That is a plan. That’s a theory. If fits easily on a bumper sticker. But here’s the problem: We tried it. Tried it for a decade before I took office, and it did not work.”
Allie Brandenburger, regional press secretary for Romney for President, countered in a written statement.
“President Obama admitted today that our country isn’t on the right track, yet he is offering more of the same as he seeks a second term,” Brandenburger said. “Americans are tired of the same old broken promises and dishonest attacks — they want a leader who keeps his word and is more focused on fixing the economy than telling stories. As president, Mitt Romney will turn around the upside-down Obama economy and finally get America back on the right track.”
On his way to Henrico, Obama’s motorcade stopped at Berry’s Produce in Hanover County to pick up some tomatoes.
“Let’s see what we’ve got,” he said, greeting owners Bill and Sandra Berry. “I hear the tomatoes are pretty good.”
The owners offered Obama a crash course in how to select the best tomatoes on what turned out to be the day of the Hanover Tomato Festival.
“These are supposed to be the best tomatoes around,” he said, inquiring about soil conditions before leaving with a 25-pound box for home.
Sandra Berry said she was “shocked” when about two hours beforehand, the Secret Service told her the president would be stopping by. Tomatoes weren’t the only thing ripe for the taking at there. The Berrys are undecided voters.