9:02 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: How's it going, Tampa? (Applause.) Are you fired up? (Applause.) Are you ready to go? (Applause.)
Well, thank you so -- can everybody please give Laura a big round of applause for that great introduction? (Applause.) We've also got with us here Congresswoman Kathy Castor in the house. (Applause.) Mayor Bob Buckhorn. (Applause.) My friend and your former governor, Charlie Crist. (Applause.)
So good morning, Tampa.
AUDIENCE: Good morning!
THE PRESIDENT: Thanks for waking up early. (Applause.)
You know, we are right in the middle of our 48-hour fly-around campaign extravaganza. (Applause.) We are pulling -- we pulled an all-nighter last night. We just came from Iowa, Nevada, Colorado. We're going to Virginia and Ohio. (Applause.) I'm going to stop in Chicago. I'm going to do some early voting in Chicago. (Applause.)
I can't tell you who I'm voting for -- it's a secret ballot. (Laughter.) But Michelle says she voted for me. (Applause.) We can vote early in Illinois, just like you can vote right now in Florida. So I've come to Florida today to ask you for your vote. (Applause.) I've come to ask you to help me keep moving America forward. (Applause.)
And you notice, my voice is getting a little hoarse. But I'm just going to keep on -- just going to keep on keeping on -- (applause) -- until every single person out there who needs to vote is going to go vote. (Applause.) Because the stakes are just so high, Florida.
You've heard now three debates; you've seen months of campaigning, way too many TV ads. I know you guys are sick of the TV ads.
THE PRESIDENT: Except the ones that I'm in. (Applause.) Maybe even those, too. (Laughter.) But you've also had a chance to see the two candidates and the two perspectives. You've heard Governor Romney's sales pitch.
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE PRESIDENT: Don't boo -- vote. (Applause.)
He's been running around saying he's got a five-point plan for the economy -- except it turns out that it's just a one-point plan -- a sketchy deal that says folks at the very top get to play by a different set of rules than you do. They get to pay a lower tax rate. They outsource jobs. They want to roll back Wall Street reform. That was his philosophy in the boardroom; that was his philosophy as a governor. And if it sounds familiar, it's because that's the philosophy that created a Great Recession.
We tried that in the last decade, and it didn’t work. It led to falling incomes and the slowest job growth in half a century, and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. And we've been working hard for four years to clean it up, to clean up the mess that got left behind. (Applause.)
And Governor Romney I think knows this -- he knows his plan isn’t any different than the policies that got us into the mess. So in the final weeks of this election, he's counting on you forgetting that his policies aren't going to work. He's hoping that you won't remember and you'll come down with a case of what we call --
THE PRESIDENT: -- Romnesia. (Applause.) He's hoping you won't remember that his economic plan is likely to create jobs in China, not America -- because it rewards companies that ship jobs overseas. He's hoping you won't remember he wants to give millionaires and billionaires a $250,000 tax cut, because the only way he can pay for it is by either blowing up the deficit or making middle-class families pay more in taxes. He’s hoping you’re going to come down with a severe case of Romnesia just before you cast your ballot. (Applause.)
But, Tampa, I want you to know this. If you’re starting to get a temperature -- your ears are ringing, your eyes are blurry -- you’re showing symptoms, you can’t remember what you just said last week -- (laughter) -- if you start thinking that maybe Governor Romney wanted to save the auto industry even though he wrote an op-ed saying "let Detroit go bankrupt" -- if there’s a sudden fuzziness when it comes to the policies on your website, don’t worry, because this is a curable condition -- (laughter) -- and Obamacare covers preexisting condition. (Applause.) We can make you well. There’s a cure. You just have to vote. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE PRESIDENT: Now, Tampa, we joke about Romnesia, but all of this speaks to something that’s really important in this election and that is the issue of trust. When you elect a President, you’re counting on somebody you can trust to fight for you, who you can trust to do what they say they’re going to do, who can trust -- that you can trust to make sure that when something unexpected happens, he or she is going to be thinking about your families, your future. Trust matters. And, Florida, you know me. You know I say what I mean and I mean what I say. (Applause.)
We haven’t finished all the work that we set out to do in 2008. But every single day when I set foot in that Oval Office, I’m thinking about you. I’m fighting for your families. And with your help, I’ve kept the commitments that I made. I told you I’d end the war in Iraq -- I did. (Applause.) I said we’d transition out of Afghanistan -- and we are. (Applause.) I said we’d go after those who actually attacked us on 9/11 -- al Qaeda is on the path to defeat; Osama bin Laden is dead. (Applause.) A new tower is rising over the New York skyline. Our heroes are coming home. I’ve kept those promises. (Applause.)
I promised to cut taxes for middle-class families -- and we have. (Applause.) I promised to cut taxes for small businesses -- and we have. (Applause.) I promised to end Wall Street taxpayer-funded bailouts -- we have. (Applause.) I promised to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell,” so anybody can serve in our military regardless of who they love -- I have. (Applause.) I promised that we would pass health care reform, so nobody goes bankrupt when they get sick -- we have. (Applause.) I promised to preserve Medicare -- we have. (Applause.) I bet on American workers and American ingenuity, and we saved an auto industry that is resurgent. (Applause.)
On issue after issue, we’re moving forward. We lost 9 million jobs in the Great Recession, but over the last 31 months our businesses have added more than 5 million new jobs. Unemployment is falling. Manufacturing is coming back. Our assembly lines are humming again. We’ve got a long way to go but, Florida, we’ve come too far to turn back now. (Applause.) We can’t afford to go back to the same policies that got us into the mess. We’ve got to stick with the policies that are getting us out of the mess. (Applause.) And that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years!
THE PRESIDENT: Now, I’ve got a plan that will actually create jobs, a plan that will actually create middle-class security. And unlike Mitt Romney, I’m proud to talk about that plan -- (applause) -- because the math actually adds up. (Laughter.)
I want you all to take a look at it. You can go to BarackObama/com/plans. And I want you to share those plans with your friends and neighbors and coworkers. There are still people out there who are trying to make up their minds. There might even be some here who are trying to make up their minds, maybe. No, no, maybe your girlfriend said you’ve got to come. (Laughter.) She’s smart enough, she’s already voting for Obama, but you need some persuading. (Applause.)
So I ask you to compare my plan to Governor Romney’s plan. See which plan -- where’s my plan -- oh, it dropped -- (laughter) -- I couldn’t find my plan. There it is. (Applause.) Now, this is the same plan that’s on the website. And you should look and see which plan is better for you. It’s got details in here about how we can move the country forward.
First, I want to end tax breaks for companies that are shipping jobs overseas, give them to companies that are investing and creating jobs right here in the United States of America. (Applause.)
Number two, I want to cut our oil imports in half by 2020 so we control more of our own energy. Right here in Florida, we are seeing solar and other new sources of energy. We’ve doubled clean energy in addition to increasing oil and natural gas production. Today, we are less dependent on oil from foreign sources than any time in the last two decades. (Applause.)
And by the way, we’re also increasing fuel standards on cars and trucks so you’ll go twice as far on a gallon of gas. (Applause.) I want to build on that progress. I don’t want fuel-efficient cars and long-lasting batteries and wind turbines and solar panels made in China. I want them made right here in Florida. (Applause.) I want them made right here in the United States with U.S. workers. (Applause.)
Third, I want to make it a national mission to educate our kids and train our workers better than anybody else on Earth. (Applause.) I want to recruit 100,000 new math and science teachers. I want to train 2 million workers at community colleges for the skills that businesses are hiring for right now. I want to work with our colleges to keep tuition low -- (applause) -- so that our young people aren’t burdened with debt. We can do that.
Number four, I want to reduce our deficit by $4 trillion, but I want to do it in a balanced way. We’ll cut out spending we don’t need, but I’m going to ask the wealthiest Americans to pay a little bit more so we can invest in the research and technology and infrastructure that keeps new jobs and businesses coming to America. And I will never, under the guise of reducing the deficit, turn Medicare into a voucher -- (applause) -- because Americans shouldn’t have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies. (Applause.)
And by the way, while we’re at it, as we saw again this week, I don’t think any politician in Washington -- most of whom are male -- should be making health care decisions for women. (Applause.) Women can make those decisions themselves. I don’t think your boss or your insurance company should be making those decisions. Women should be making their own health care decisions. That’s why the health care law we passed put those choices in your hands -- that’s where it belongs and that’s where it will stay as long as I am President of the United States. (Applause.)
And finally, I’ll use the savings from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to put people back to work doing some nation-building here at home -- (applause) -- rebuilding our roads and our bridges, our broadband lines in the rural areas, fixing our schools up. When our veterans come home, I want to make sure they’ve got jobs waiting for them. (Applause.) We’re going to serve them as well as they’ve served us, because nobody who’s fought for this country should have to fight for a job or a roof over their heads when they come home. (Applause.)
That’s the plan we need, Florida. That’s how you build a strong, sustainable economy that has good, middle-class jobs. That’s how you encourage businesses to start here and to stay here. That’s how you’re going to actually increase take-home pay. That’s how you build an economy where everybody who works hard has a chance. That’s what we can do together.
And now it’s up to you. Now it’s up to you, right here in Florida, today. You can choose the path that we go from here. It’s up to the young people here to choose the future that you want to see. (Applause.) It’s up to the not-so-young people to choose the kind of country we leave for the future generations.
You can choose the top-down policies that got us into this mess
-- or you can choose the policies that are getting us out of this mess. (Applause.)
You can choose a foreign policy that’s reckless and wrong -– or you can choose one that’s steady and strong. (Applause.)
You can choose to turn back the clock 50 years for women, and for immigrants, and for gays -– or in this election, you can stand up for that basic principle that makes our country the envy of the world -- that we’re all created equal; that everybody has a place. (Applause.) Black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, young, old -- black, white -- (applause) -- gay, straight -- it doesn’t matter, no matter who you are, no matter you look like, no matter where you come from, no matter who you love –- in America, you’ve got to be able to make it if you try. (Applause.) That’s what we believe. That’s what we’re fighting for. (Applause.)
Florida, we have been through tough times these past four years. I meet folks all the time who tell me how tough times have been. And there are a lot of folks where times are still tough. But the good news is -- Americans, we’re always tougher. We always bounce back. We always come out on top. (Applause.) Because we pull together. Because we look after one another. Because we leave no one behind. We don’t close the door behind us if we succeed. We make sure that we’re bringing more folks through that door. Because we don’t turn back. We go forward. Adelante. (Applause.) We look forward to a future that is brighter. We look at the distant horizon and we say, that’s where we’re headed. (Applause.)
In America, our destiny is not written for us, it’s written by us -- and we can write that next chapter together.
So, Florida, that’s why I’m asking for your vote in this election. (Applause.) That’s why I’m asking for your vote. And if I have the privilege of serving as your President for another four years, I promise you will always have a President who hears your voices. You’ll always have a President who fights for your families. You’ll have a President who spends every waking hour thinking about how I can make your lives just a little bit better, make the future of your children and grandchildren a little bit brighter.
Florida, I believe in you. I’m asking you to keep believing in me. (Applause.) And if you’re willing to work with me, and knock on some doors with me, make some phone calls with me, vote for me -- (applause) -- we’ll win Hillsborough County again. We’ll win Florida again. (Applause.) We’ll win this election again. (Applause.) We’ll finish what we started in 2008. And we’ll remind the world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth. (Applause.)
God bless you, and God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
9:20 A.M. EDT