President Obama pushed back sharply Friday against Mitt Romney’s attempt the previous day to suggest that the president has given up on his message of change from four years ago.
Speaking to 12,000 supporters at an outdoor rally in the outer Virginia suburbs of Washington, Obama sounded a bit disdainful as he slapped Romney for promising “to get the job done from the inside.” The Republican presidential nominee’s remarks, given at a rally in Sarasota, Fla., on Thursday, were in response to Obama’s statement during a televised forum at Univision in Miami that he has realized as president that he cannot change Washington “from the inside.”
“What kind of inside job is he talking about?” Obama asked a crowd that booed and jeered along with the president. “Is it the job of rubber-stamping the top-down, you’re-on-your-own agenda of this Republican Congress? Because if it is, we don’t want it.”
Obama went on to say that change comes from across the country and that 2012, much like 2008, is not about him but about the people who agree with his vision for the nation.
“You change [Washington] because people are mobilized,” the president said. “You change it with the help of ordinary Americans who are willing to make their voices heard because of the decency and the goodness and the common sense of Americans. That’s what moves the country forward.”
In his speech under a brilliantly sunny sky, Obama also continued to hammer Romney for his controversial remarks, published this week by Mother Jones, in which he said nearly half of Americans view themselves as “victims” and that “my job is not to worry about those people.”
“I don’t see a lot of victims in this crowd today,” Obama said, prompting cheers from the packed bleachers of G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium in Prince William County, home of the minor-league Potomac Nationals baseball team. “I see hardworking Virginians. Some of you may be students trying maybe to work your way through college. Some of you may be single moms, like my mom, putting in overtime to see if you can provide a better life for your kids. Some of you may be senior citizens who have been saving your whole life so you can retire. Some of you may be veterans or soldiers who defend our freedom today.”
He continued: “Nobody believes anyone’s entitled to success in this country . . . but we do believe in a country where hard work pays off, where hard work is rewarded, where everybody gets a fair shot.”
Obama’s appearance comes at a time when he is crisscrossing the country, holding large rallies day after day in swing states such as Nevada, Colorado, Ohio and Florida. Romney, who had been following a much lighter public schedule, has come under criticism from members of his own party as a result. Romney’s campaign has responded with an updated schedule that includes more public appearances in swing states and more television ad buys.
Obama travels to Wisconsin on Saturday for another political rally.