President Barack Obama revved up a partisan Democratic crowd of an estimated 23,000 people Sunday afternoon at the McArthur High School football stadium in Hollywood.
After pledging his administration’s support to help the victims of Superstorm Sandy in the northeast, Obama launched into his argument for why voters should re-elect him for another four years in the White House.
“We made real progress the past four years …,” Obama said, emphasizing that we have more work to do. “As long as there is a single American who wants a job and can’t find one, our work is not done….”
He talked about how he inherited the worse economic crisis since the Great Depression. And he boasted about his accomplishments including creating millions of new jobs, helping out the auto industry, ending the war in Iraq and killing Osama Bin Laden.Obama told the crowd that they may not agree with all of his decisions. However, “you know what I believe and where I stand. I will fight for you and your family every single day,” he said.
Obama cast himself as the better choice for the middle class and said he would protect Medicare and Social Security. He said that the wealthiest should return to the tax rates they paid under former President Bill Clinton. He argued that our economy grows best “when everybody has a chance to succeed.”
When some in the crowd booed Mitt Romney, Obama responded: “I don’t want you to boo I want you to vote.”
For Obama, the visit to Hollywood — where popular rapper Pitbull was on hand for support — is one of four campaign stops the Democrat is making on Sunday. Other stops include Concord, New Hampshire, Cincinnati, Ohio, and Aurora, Colorado.
Romney, who was in Miami last week, is in Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia on Sunday. His running mate Paul Ryan is campaigning in Ohio and Colorado.
The Romney campaign has a showcase of political stars who will be stumping in South Florida for the former Massachusetts governor.
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman, Alabama Rep. Martha Roby and Virginia Delegate Barbara Comstock will attend get-out-the vote events in Palm Beach, Coral Springs and Aventura.
It was a picnic-like atmosphere in Hollywood, where the heavily Democratic crowd voiced its clear feelings for why Obama should remain in the White House for four more years.
Said Cindy Jagne, of Sunrise, who was there with her husband, Hassan, and son, Arsena: “Romney scares me. We don’t know where he stands.”
Before Obama arrived, U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, a Miami Democrat whose congressional district includes Miami-Dade and Broward counties, led the crowd in a chant of “Four More Years” and “Fired up! Ready to vote!” She wore one of her signature hats — this one a bright yellow. The crowd waved the Obama campaign’s blue “FORWARD” placards.
Former Gov. Charlie Crist, who is now an independent and rumored to be joining the Democratic party, also fired up the Obama supporters.
Bellowed Crist: “Hello Broward! Are you fired up? Ready to go …I love Barack Obama.”
Crist, who left the Republican Party in the midst of the primary for U.S. Senate in 2010, was excoriated by Republcans for welcoming the president at an event in Fort Myers in 2009, symbolically embracing the federal stimulus money coming to Florida.
Crist recalled the moment in his speech to the Broward crowd before Obama arrived and used the message to revive some classic Crist themes: bi-partisan cooperation.
“The president came here to help us,’’ he said. “One man got it done. President Barack Obama.”
“My friends this campaign, listen to me, is about optimism,” Crist said. “The other guys are pessimists.”
Obama and Romney entered the final 48 hours of campaigning on Sunday with electoral bravado about the certainty of winning mixed with urgent warnings for their most fervent supporters that the hard-fought race for the White House remains razor-close.
The two rivals started their day with rallies in the two still-competitive states where presidential campaigns begin every four years, and where the fates of their political futures could be decided: Iowa and New Hampshire.
Flanked by former President Bill Clinton in the shadow of the New Hampshire state capital building in Concord, Obama vowed to continue efforts to improve a recovering economy and expressed the confidence of an incumbent that voters across the competitive battleground states will give him the chance to try.
But he also betrayed the nervousness of a first-term president whose hopes for a second term — and the opportunity to continue shaping his legacy — hinges on a half-dozen states that could go either way by the end of election day on Tuesday.
“I am not ready to give up the fight and I hope you aren’t either, New Hampshire,” Obama said before thousands of people, his voice already growing hoarse at the start of a long day of campaigning. “We have come too far to turn back now. We have come too far to let our hearts grow faint.”
Romney spoke moments earlier with similar expressions of a certainty of success, telling about 4,400 supporters in Des Moines that the clock has nearly run out on the president’s time in office. He promised to usher in a new era of economic hope for families across the country who are struggling.
“Instead of building bridges, he’s made the divide between our parties wider,” Romney said. “Let me tell you why it is he’s fallen so far short of what he’s promised: it’s because he cared more about a liberal agenda than he did about repairing the economy.”
But like the man he wants to succeed, Romney is racing from swing state to swing state with the intensity of a candidate who recognizes that he is trailing — if only slightly — behind Obama in many of the states he must win to accumulate the 270 electoral votes he needs to become president.
The two candidates are set to hold a flurry of last rallies in the next two days to try to demonstrate the kind of enthusiasm among their supporters they hope will be evident at polling places on Tuesday.
But the candidate travel was only part of the battle on Sunday as their running mates, their campaign advisers and a myriad of other surrogates spread themselves out across the swing states and appeared on television to try to amplify the impact of the campaign message.
Rep. Paul D. Ryan, the Republican vice presidential nominee, is spending Sunday in Ohio, Minnesota and Colorado. Vice President Joe Biden began his Sunday campaigning with an event in Lakewood, Ohio, near Cleveland, and he was scheduled to campaign later Sunday in both Fremont and Lancaster, Ohio, before flying to Virginia, where he is scheduled to campaign in Sterling, Va., a Washington suburb, and Richmond on Monday.
The New York Times News Service contributed to this report.