The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Obama fires up Bristow crowd in late-night rally
By Keith Walker
The Associated Press
There aren’t too many days left before the Nov. 6 election, so it might be that President Barack Obama won’t be back to Prince William County before then.
Related: Republican challenger Mitt Romney campaigned in Caroline County on Thursday.
Campaign 2012: Find your polling place and more in our guide to Tuesday’s election.
Knowing that this election would be Obama’s last, supporters filled every seat and the lawn Saturday night at Jiffy Lube Live, which holds about 25,000 people.
A number of published polls show that Obama is running neck-and-neck with his Republican opponent, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, in the Old Dominion. Each have visited Prince William County during the campaign.
After campaigning earlier in the day in other swing states of Ohio, Wisconsin and Iowa, Obama’s stop in Prince William County seemed to confirm the importance his campaign places on the Commonwealth.
Obama brought a couple of big guns with him to the venue that is usually filled by the likes of Jimmy Buffett, Kiss, Brad Paisley, The Village People, Lynard Skynard, the Doobie Brothers, Motley Crue, Katy Perry, The Zac Brown Band, Phish and Rush.
Singer-songwriter Dave Matthews opened the show, warming up the crowd for former President Bill Clinton, who served as Obama’s most prominent cheerleader.
If there was a theme Saturday night, it seemed to be to motivate 24,000 screaming Obama fans to get out and vote.
“Remember to go out and vote and vote the good way,” Matthews said after his set.
Clinton reminded the crowd that Obama faced a Republican-controlled House of Representatives which Clinton said denied Obama any cooperation.
“If you don’t have cooperation, you have the makings of a disaster,” Clinton said.
Clinton said the reasons he supports Obama because the president supports America’s armed forces at the same time he ended the war in Iraq and is drawing down forces in Afghanistan.
He reiterated the Obama campaign’s position that 5 million jobs have been created since Obama took office.
He said that Obama saved the automobile industry and scolded Romney for his widely debunked assertion that Obama was responsible for shipping American auto jobs to China.
Clinton praised Obama for bringing the economy from the brink of a depression and said Obama has the experience needed to take the country forward.
“I want to vote for a president who has been through the fire of these last four years and brought us out on the other side,” Clinton said.
The crowd, which Clinton had already fired up, went nuts when Obama took the stage about 10:45 p.m.
Obama told the crowd that a vote for Romney was a vote to go backwards.
He said that Romney’s proposals would add $5 trillion to the national debt. He said that voters should ask who they trust to run the country.
“You know I mean what I say. You know where I stand. You know I tell the truth,” Obama said.
“After all we’ve been through together, we can’t give up now.”
Obama promised that if he is reelected he would use the savings from ending two wars to rebuild at home, that he would work to insure that veterans returning from war could find jobs. He said that he would work to keep health care for everyone and try to hire more teachers.
Obama also alluded to the strife between himself and the U.S. Congress and told the audience not to despair and again reminded them of the urgency to vote.
“What they’re counting on now is that your going to be so worn down by the squabbling … that you’re just going to give up,” Obama said.
Obama ended by telling his audience that there wasn’t much more the campaign could do at this point in the race and placed the election in his supporters’ hands.
He asked them again for their vote and their help.
“Don’t get tired. Don’t get weary. Help me win this election,” he said.
Senior reporter Keith Walker can be reached at 703-369-6751.