MANCHESTER — Only two days after President Barack Obama faced off in a debate with Republican challenger Mitt Romney, he was in the Granite State yesterday rallying support.
The president’s appearance attracted a crowd of about 6,000 people to Veterans Memorial Park, where many Southern New Hampshire and Merrimack Valley residents waited hours to hear him speak.
But when Obama stepped up to the podium at noon and delivered a rousing 27-minute speech, many later said it was definitely worth the three-hour wait.
“Hello, New Hampshire,” Obama told the cheering crowd. “Are you fired up? I’m fired up.”
The applause had started well before Obama took the stage. First, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., asked the crowd for their support, outlined Obama’s accomplishments and criticized Republican challenger Mitt Romney’s proposed policies.
Her granddaughter, Elle Shaheen, was one of two girls who sang the national anthem. The Rev. William Ferguson, a Pelham Congregational minister, said a prayer.
Gov. John Lynch then introduced Obama, telling supporters, “The president clearly understands the American dream should be more than just a dream.”
Obama immediately distanced himself from Romney, calling the former Massachusetts governor a salesman with a misleading sales pitch and a flawed economic plan.
“What he’s selling is not a five-point plan, it’s really a one-point plan,” he said. “It’s the same philosophy that got us into this mess.”
Obama attacked Romney’s tax plan, which reduces all income tax rates by 20 percent, eliminate the estates tax and the alternative minimum tax. It also maintains and expand tax breaks for investment income, he said.
Romney said he would pay for his plan by reducing or eliminating tax deductions, exemptions and credits, prompting Obama to call the proposal “sketchy.” The only way to pay for it is by raising taxes, Obama said.