Obama Rally at Kent State Touches on Themes of Opportunity, Success (VIDEO)

Kent campaign stop one of two on college campuses in Northeast Ohio.

Some came to hear about the president's views on Medicare, Social Security, or women's healthcare.

Some merely wished to see a sitting president in the flesh.

But all braved a steady downpour on Wednesday to see the President Barack Obama speak at Kent State University.

Obama came on stage shortly after 5:30 p.m. "Hello Kent State! Go Flashes!" he called to the roaring crowd.

His remarks began by touching on themes of opportunity and success for the middle class.

"This country succeeds when the middle class is growing, when there are ladders of opportunity for all people," he said. "We all believe that anybody is entitled to success in this country. Everybody’s got to work hard."

The president also told the audience that U.S jobs and the positioning of the U.S. economy in the global economy is at stake in the Nov. 6 election.

"I want to make sure we're providing tax breaks for companies right here in America," Obama said.

While the president campaigned in Kent — he spent the morning at Bowling Green State University — his opponent, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, wrapped up a third day of traveling across Ohio with a stop in Bedford Heights near Cleveland.

Traditionally a swing state, Ohio could once again play a pivotal role in the election and as a result has drawn the attention of the candidates with Election Day just 41 days away.

Washington Post poll published Tuesday shows Obama has a lead in the Buckeye state over Romney. Obama is leading Romney in Ohio by 52 percent to 44 percent, according to the Post.

As she stood in the rain early Wednesday afternoon, Carol Valeri, a retiree from Ravenna, said she hoped to hear Obama talk about Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

“There has to be some changes in Social Security, but not like what Mitt Romney wants to do," she said. "I’d like him to be more specific about what he would cut and how he would do that.”

But it was all about women's health care for retiree, Marsha Schumacher, of Alliance.

"I want to hear him talk about what his policies, how they will affect women. … Women making their own decisions about their own medical needs is very important. I think President Obama will ensure women have the right to make their own decisions about their own bodies. I’d like to hear him talk about that today.”

At the other end of the spectrum was students just hoping to get a look at the president. 

“I never met a president before. I’m sick, my nose is running, my throat hurts. Once I get in there, it will be worth it, but right now I just don’t feel good,”said Kent student Kendra Landfair, who waited in line in the rain.

Landfair hoped to hear what the president had to say about tuition, as did fellow Kent student Leah Kushmaul.

“I want to hear him talk about the financial aid situation because I know Romney’s big on decreasing giving financial aid," she said. "And I don’t think that’s a good idea.” 

A poll published by the Plain Dealer earlier this week also showed Obama leading Romney.

The Plain Dealer's poll showed a lead of five points for Obama. Similar results were revealed in recent presidential polls done by Ohio newspapers and other media.

At Kent State's Memorial and Convocation Center -- commonly called the MACC -- the president's visit on Wednesday drew huge crowds despite lousy weather.

Speakers at the event included U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, who represents District 17, who told the crowd that the president was counting on Kent and Portage County to win the election.

Ryan pointed to the federal investment in downtown Kent and asked the crowd, "Are you better off now than four years ago?" 

He also pointed to the benefits students enjoy through federal programs. Pell Grants, federal student loans make you "the future job creators," not mooches, Ryan said.

Speaking to the audience, Kent State University USG director Evan Gildenblatt said Obama's message is one of hope, not fear. He exhorted the audience, "We have changed the world, Kent State!"

Thousands of supporters turned out Monday to get a ticket for the event. While local officials fretted over the potential cost of the presidential visit.

A liberal arts college, Kent State is the second largest public university in Ohio with a total 42,513 students enrolled for classes this fall. Kent is home to a largely Democratic voter base.

Paul October 02, 2012 at 01:06 AM
Watts, this is 1 point I would differ on opinion with. President Obama is in fact Bi-Racial. There is a distinct difference. Even today there is significant prejudice from both the African American community and the White community. To be truthful President Obama is in fact our 1st Bi-Racial President. We to date have not had an African American President. I would say the word "black" was most certainly used to wins votes at some point.
Kaye Spector October 02, 2012 at 03:08 AM
Folks, comments have been deleted here and a user suspended because of attacks on others in this thread.
Watts October 02, 2012 at 05:18 AM
@Paul I agree that Obama is bi-racial, but just as one of my best friend's who is bi-racial (Israeli mother and Vietnamese father), chooses to self identify as Asian on forms, Obama self identifies as Black. And because of his physical attributes and this self identification, we have all had to endure years of everything from racially intolerant innuendo to white supremacist racially based hate toward the President. You may have noticed that until the last couple of years (well after Obama was elected president) there was no "bi-racial" option on forms like the US census. This forced people to make the decision of which race to identify as. So it had nothing to do with winning votes, as much as Barak Obama has self identified as black for his whole life. The notion that Barack Obama is not black, but is something other, goes down another slipery slope. If Michelle Obama is black and Barack Obama is not allowed to be black because of mixed race parents, then by default that logic would imply that his children could not claim to be black, because their father was something other than black. Now it becomes more apparent why this falls apart, because from white owners having raped black slaves, to all sorts of generational mixing over the centuries, using this logic would mean that millions of people could never claim any race because of some biracial mix in the family tree. Then you would get into racial purity tests and I am sure that you know who was a fan of that.
Juliet Shreve October 02, 2012 at 08:21 PM
no way sorry we need the best for the nation Obama is it and he is more concern for us
Juliet Shreve October 02, 2012 at 08:22 PM
me two billion time


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »