Obama: Voters Face Starkest Contrast Since Johnson-Goldwater

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -President Obama  said today that voters in the 2012 election face the starkest contrast in candidates seen since the 1964 race between Lyndon Johnson and Barry Goldwater.

"This election will probably have the biggest contrast that we've seen maybe since the Johnson-Goldwater election - maybe before that," the president said at an off-camera fundraiser shortly before Rick Santorum announced he was suspending his campaign.

Johnson won the 1964 race by 61 percent of the popular vote, making it the largest Democratic landslide since 1820.

The president's remarks came at the first of three fundraisers in the swing state today. Speaking at a luncheon at the home of Hansel Tookes, former president of Raytheon International, Obama pitched his vision for an America where everyone pays their "fair share."

"My vision … the Democratic vision, is one that says that free market is the key to economic growth; that we don't need to build government just for the sake of expanding its reach; but there are certain things we have to do - whether it's investments in education or basic science and research or caring for the most vulnerable among us and creating an effective safety net - that we have to do, because we can't do it on our own," he said.

While Obama did not call out GOP front-runner Mitt Romney by name, he argued that Republicans would gut social programs while offering tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans.

"The Republicans in this race, they've got a fundamentally different idea. Their basic deal is that if they dismantle government investments in infrastructure or clean energy research or education, if they give it all away in tax cuts to folks like me and some of you who don't need them and weren't even asking for them, that that somehow makes America stronger. And I fundamentally disagree," he said.