President Obama addresses crowd at Des Moines campaign stop

President Barack Obama delivers a speech at his campaign event. President Obama campaigned at the Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines on Thursday, May 24, 2012.

Aimee Burch

Speaking to a large and energetic crowd, President Barack Obama criticized Republican opponent Mitt Romney while trying to keep the crowd hopeful during a campaign stop in Des Moines Thursday, May 24, 2012. 

“It’s good to be back among friends,” said the president as he took his place at the podium inside the Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. “Four or five years ago, it was you who kept us going.”

The enthusiastic crowd chanted “Four more years!” and “We love you, Mr. President,” to which Obama replied, “I love you back.”

Obama spoke about how the campaign came together to ensure a prosperous middle class would survive in times of despair.

“Success shouldn’t be determined by the circumstances of your birth,” Obama stated. “If you’re able to work hard, you should be able to find a good job.”

Regarding the 2008 election, Obama said the people of Iowa were “tough” and kept working together and fighting back to preserve what America is known for.

Obama discussed the issues he has faced in his first term as president, particularly the economic and unemployment crises of recent years.

“Today, plants are adding new shifts and new workers, and the American auto industry is fighting on all cylinders,” Obama said. “Our manufacturers started investing in America again, the first time we have consistently created manufacturing jobs since the 1990s and businesses started getting back to the basics creating four million jobs in the last 26 months.”

Obama also addressed the fact that work is not complete, saying that there are still many people looking for work and homes and businesses still under duress.

“This was a deep crisis that didn’t happen overnight and we knew it wouldn’t be solved overnight,” he said. “We still have work to do and can’t return to the same policies that got us into this mess in the first place.”

Obama called out Romney’s claims, as well as those of the Republican party. Romney claimed that his time in the business world as a CEO is what will help him turn the economy around. Obama called him out, saying that the primary goal of these types of corporations is to make money for themselves, not to create jobs and make money for the American people. Obama told the crowd that they were standing in the very place where Romney famously said “corporations are people,” barely a year ago.

“The job of the president is to lay the foundation for strong, sustainable growth, not short term gains,” Obama said. “Everyone in this country should be playing by the same set of rules. Everyone who makes the company productive should benefit.”

Obama said the goal of his campaign and presidency will be to provide a vision of going forward into the future, not backward toward the old practices. He said that the Democratic Party still has work to do and that the government cannot solve all problems and should not try to either. Obama advocated neighbors and communities to work together to provide for a better future.

Obama touted his dedication to affordable higher education, saying that it is a necessity that everyone should be able to afford, not a luxury afforded to only a specific few. He also addressed rewarding companies who bring jobs back to America and a commitment to efficient and renewable energy sources like biofuels and solar and wind energy.

The president touted the accomplishments of his first term, saying that this is the first time in nine years there are no Americans in Iraq and that Osama bin Laden is no longer a threat to this country. Obama declared that, if elected to another term, the war in Afghanistan would end by 2014. He again called out Romney for saying it was “tragic” to end the Iraq War and for being unwilling to set a timetable for troops to get out of Afghanistan.

Obama spoke about the upcoming Memorial Day celebrations and honored the men and women who served overseas both past and present. He said that at this year’s celebration, he will specifically speak with Vietnam War veterans.

“They were not honored the way they were supposed to be and we will not make that mistake again,” Obama declared. “As long as I’m commander-in-chief, this country will care for our veterans and serve them as well as they served us.”

Obama addressed the fact that Romney was in Des Moines last week, calling his speech a “cowpie distraction” from key issues.

“I don’t know whose record he twisted the most, mine or his,” Obama declared as the crowd erupted in giggles.

Obama stated that since he took office, federal spending has risen at the slowest pace of any president in almost 60 years, saying this is a fact his opponent chooses to neglect. He also reaffirmed his commitment to affordable health care for all citizens, saying that everyone should be treated equally with dignity and respect. He particularly spoke to the women of the crowd, saying that he will stand by the belief that women should be able to control their own health choices.

He closed his speech with an appeal for the continued support of the crowd, stating that this election will be closer than the last and that the outcome is in the hands of those in the crowd.

“There is nothing more powerful than many voices calling for change,” Obama said. “This is still about hope, change and ordinary folks, and I’ll be fighting as hard as I can for you to move this country forward and finish what we started.”