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Photo by: Isaac Babcock - President Barack Obama greets the crowd at Rollins College Aug. 2.
Winter Park / Maitland Observer Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012 5 years ago

President Obama speaks at Rollins College

Grassroots event
by: Isaac Babcock Managing Editor

Central Floridians packed the Harold and Ted Alfond Sports Center at Rollins College to hear from President Barack Obama on Aug. 2.

The stop was part of a swing-state tour between Ohio, Florida and Virginia that made a whirlwind out of the end of the week, just before Obama’s birthday.

When Obama mentioned he would be celebrating his 51st birthday on Saturday, the Rollins crowd broke into a spontaneous “Happy Birthday to You” serenade.

“If I had known you were going to sing,” Obama said, “I would have brought a cake. I’d have made a wish. It probably would have had to do with electoral votes.”

The president, on the campaign trail for re-election, had originally expected to deliver a speech at Rollins College on July 20, but after news broke of a mass shooting in Aurora, Colo., he canceled that speech.

Speaking in front of thousands of supporters at the Winter Park college on Aug. 2, he strayed from foreign policy or social policy issues to focus on taxes, the economy, jobs and health care.

“If you work hard, you shouldn’t have to worry about whether you can afford to go to the doctor or pay your bills,” Obama said while talking about initiatives he would push for to strengthen the middle class.

He pointed to fulfilled promises from his previous campaign, saying he’d continue to be a champion of typical American families.

“Four years ago I promised to cut middle class taxes, and that’s exactly what I did, by a total of about $3,600 for the typical family.”

Outside, protestors and supporters of presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney gathered across the street, holding pro-Romney signs.

Inside, Obama chided Romney for a plan he said would take middle class tax dollars and give it to the top 2 percent of earners. He pointed to a recently released report from the non-partisan Brookings Institution that said Romney’s tax plan would add $2,000 to middle class families.

Romney campaign officials derided that report as “a joke,” calling the Brookings Institution’s Tax Policy Center a liberal institution.

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