“Atlanta, I am here not just because I need your help — although I do — I’m here because your country needs your help,” Obama said, after acknowledging Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, former Gov. Roy Barnes and the civil rights leader the Rev. Joseph Lowery.
Without naming names or party affiliations, the president said the current fiscal crisis preceded his 2008 election.
“For almost a decade we have seen [the] dream that built the middle class in the most successful economy…slip away. We watched surpluses turn into deficits. We have seen two wars fought on a credit card. We’ve seen a few people at the top do really, really well while more folks were struggling to get by,” he said.
While calling his opponent Mitt Romney “patriotic” and “successful,” Obama cautioned the audience what to expect in the months leading up to November.
“It’s going to be a close election because the economy is still tough,” he said. “Folks are still frustrated. And what that means is you’re going to have more money spent in this election than ever before by the other side on negative ads. They will say, ‘The economy is bad because it’s Obama’s fault.’ They suffer a little bit of amnesia.”
He said his policies are bearing fruit.
“Over time, what we’ve seen is steady progress and steady movement — more than four million jobs created over the last 27 months, more than 800,000 in the last few months alone,” Obama said.
The president called for more investment in education, science, technology, clean energy and business.
“I want to change the tax code,” Obama said. “I want to give tax breaks to companies that are investing right here in Georgia, right here in Atlanta.”
He asked his listeners to activate their networks, get voters to the polls and reelect him.
“If you do, we will finish what we started in 2008. We will rebuild this economy and rebuild America,” Obama said.
Marina Bryant of Dunwoody said she found the speech an effective call to action.
“I’m so grateful he came to Atlanta to inspire us because we as Americans, as Democrats and as Georgians have a lot of work to do,” she said.
(UPDATED AT 10:30 A.M. THURSDAY TO INCLUDE CORRECT TICKET PRICE INFO)