President Obama today delivered an impassioned attack on what he called Republicans’ “cramped narrow conception” of liberty, during a fiery speech at a campaign fundraiser in Vermont.
Before an electrified crowd of 4500 – his largest of the campaign to date – Obama framed the 2012 campaign as a stark choice between two diametrically opposed political and economic philosophies.
“Their philosophy is simple: you’re on your own,” Obama said of the GOP.
“You’re on your own if you’re out of work, can’t find a job. Tough luck you’re on your own. You don’t have health care: That’s your problem. You’re on your own. If you’re born into poverty, lift yourself up with your own bootstraps, even if you don’t have boots. You’re on your own. They believe that’s how America is advanced,” he said.
“That’s the cramped narrow conception they have of liberty, and they are wrong,” he said. “They are wrong.”
Obama said his vision was of an inclusive America – one where “we are greater together than we are on our own” – that affirmed a role of government in helping the poor and the middle class.
He said his policies have spurred an economic recovery that’s “accelerating,” bolstered by a host of new consumer protections, from new financial regulations, health insurance overhauls, and investments in clean energy technology.
“We have always understood that we wouldn’t win the race for new jobs and businesses and middle class security if we were just applying some ‘you’re on your own economics,’” he said. “What they’re peddling has been tried – it did not work.”
Obama appealed to supporters – who each paid $100 or more to attend the event on an indoor soccer field at the University of Vermont – to “work harder in this election,” opening their wallets and organizing on the ground and over the phone.
“I promise you change will come. We will finish what we started in 2008. Fight with me,” he said.
The event was the second stop for Obama in Vermont on Friday during what is the first presidential visit to the Green Mountain State since 1995. Obama will spend the evening at two fundraisers in Portland, Maine.
“Out of all the 50 states, Vermont has gone the longest without a presidential visit,” Obama said. “So we decided today we are going to reset the clock.”