Obama, Clinton rouse NH crowd
The speeches were part of a larger rally that also featured Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and democratic New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch. All speakers stressed the need for New Hampshire residents to vote on Tuesday. With many polls indicating that the race is close, New Hampshire's four electoral votes could make the difference in the election.
Clinton reminded the crowd that New Hampshire was crucial state in his own bid to become president. His wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, also won the state in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary.
"Twenty years and nine months ago, New Hampshire began the chance for me to become president," Clinton said.
Clinton turned the attention to Obama, noting that he campaigned for him in 40 events in his 2008 campaign, but is "much more enthusiastic now" than he was then.
Clinton enumerated the reasons for his support of Obama, praising his foreign policy, the auto bailout and his work to help the economy thus far. In the past two years, Obama has created 5.5 million private sector jobs compared to the 2.6 million created over eight years under the Bush administration, according to Clinton.
"I am telling you, I have spent years studying the economy, and I know what creates jobs," Clinton said. "I hope I have some credibility with you on balanced budgets. No U.S. president or anyone living within the borders of the U.S. could have fixed all the damage that was done from the financial crisis in just four years. That's not possible."
Clinton lauded the president for passing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and for his support of Planned Parenthood.
Romney, who opposed the auto bailout, has been trying to undo his previous statements now that the automobile industry has been improving, Clinton said.
"I expect he'll be offered a job as chief contortionist of Cirque du Soleil," he joked.
Obama began his speech by somberly reflecting on the past week dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
"I think I speak for the entire country when I say we will not stop until those folks' lives have been upended and their lives have been rebuilt," Obama said. "We will be with them every step of the way. That's what we do as Americans. Despite the heartbreak, we've been inspired these past few days." Obama chastised Romney for his adoption of the president's 2008 slogan, "Change," to define his own run for president in 2012. Obama said that Romney cannot endorse himself as the candidate of change if he continues to embrace the status quo, especially through his plans to "rubber stamp" the Tea Party agenda, roll back regulations on Wall Street and return to the policies of the Bush era.
"He's a very talented salesman, and he has tried to repackage the same ideas and pretend they're new," Obama said of Romney. "We know what change looks like, and what he's selling ain't it."
By contrast, Obama said that he wants to keep America moving forward by supporting policies similar to those that Clinton implemented during the 1990s, such as increasing tax rates on the nation's top earners. He added that he wants compromise in Washington but is unwilling to cast aside his views on social issues such as health care, entitlement benefits and college financial aid.
"I've fought alongside you," Obama said. "I've got the gray hair to show for it."
The speeches emphasized the need to vote on Tuesday and focused on promoting Obama's reelection.
"It is a very good thing that in the closing days of this campaign you have the chance to send the president back to where he belongs to four more years in the White House," Clinton said.
Both Clinton and Obama said that Obama needs another term to complete what he set out to do in 2008, stressing that although America has not made a full recovery from the economic downturn, it is on its way back.
"As long as there's a single American who wants a job but can't find one, our work is not yet done," Obama said.
Shaheen and Lynch provided a more local context for the decisions faced in this election cycle, campaigning for Democratic congressional candidates Ann McLane Kuster '78 and former Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H., as well as Democratic gubernatorial candidate Maggie Hassan.
"Here in New Hampshire, we don't need binders full of women,'" Shaheen said. "We have ballots full of women."
The Dartmouth Aires performed three songs, including "The Star-Spangled Banner," in the hour preceding the rally. Several Dartmouth students such as Justin Maffett '16 volunteered for the Obama campaign at the rally, helping to direct the crowds.
"I'm really looking forward to Clinton, and I know this is an Obama rally, but I'm really interested in hearing what he has to say," Moffit said before the rally. "I also want to hear what Obama has to say on issues that deal with college students."
Samantha Deluca, a crowd member from Tilden, N.H., said she has been a supporter of the president for a year. This is the first election in which she is able to vote.
"I really believe this candidate supports the social issues that are important to me," Deluca said. "My mother is supported by Medicare and Medicaid she is totally disabled. It's very important to me that she's able to live a comfortable life."
Obama and Clinton finished their day with trips to Florida, Ohio and Colorado. Romney campaigned in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia, and tonight he heads to New Hampshire for a rally in Manchester.