As undecided women voters become the most desired demographic that both Obama and Mitt Romney are vying for in the waning days of the campaign, the president indirectly made reference to the controversial comments made by Indiana Republican U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock about rape and abortion.
“I don’t think any politician in Washington — most of whom are male, should be making health care decision for women,” Obama said, eliciting huge cheers from the 8,500 people packed into Centennial Park. "Women can make those decisions themselves.”
Curiously, the president did not mention a goal that he told the Des Moines Register earlier this week he aspires to achieve in a second-term: comprehensive immigration reform. With a wider margin of support in polls among Latinos than a Democrat has received in previous elections, Obama’s only reference to the issue was towards the end of his address, when he said that a vote for the Romney-Ryan ticket would “turn back the clock 50 years for immigrants, women and gays.”
Tampa resident Maria Rodriguez said she wants the president to work on comprehensive immigration reform, and says it’s past time for Republicans to be a part of a solution. “We need to push it because there’s a lot of good people who are immigrants. And the U.S. started as an immigrant land. So why are we now trying to stop what we were originally? It’s gotta happen.”
She said she didn’t understand why Mitt Romney had been so tough on the issue. “It’s too late for him to step up. He’s a goner,” Rodriguez said.
There was more verbal bashing of what Obama calls “Romnesia,” which segued into his most successful line of the speech. “If there’s a suddenness when it comes to your policies on your website, don’t worry — because this is a curable condition, and Obamacare covers pre-existing conditions!”
The President arrived in Tampa at shortly before 7 a.m. today after flying overnight from an appearance in Nevada, part of his two-day six-city tour that will take him to the battle ground states of Virginia and Ohio later in the day, with a quick pit-stop in Chicago so he can vote in his home state.
Team Obama has been emphasizing early voting both nationally and in Florida, and statistics indicate that in Ohio that strategy has been extremely effective. Floridians can vote early now by going to one of the various supervisor of elections offices in the state and requesting an absentee ballot. The first day of official early voting is this Saturday, October 27 — a later start than in 2004 and 2008 mandated after the Florida Legislature passed a controversial elections bill a year ago that reduced the number of days to vote at the polls before election day.
Reggie Harris was wearing a T-shirt depicting Martin Luther King Jr. and Obama that said, “Dreams come true.” He said that amongst his friends, there’s the same level of support for the president as there was in 2008. As someone who does construction jobs and painting, he says he’s been getting a little more work over the past year. “Four more years, that’s what we need.”