Cody Cousino / Photo editor
Although some opponents might say the economy should be fixed by now, President Barack Obama kicked off his re-election campaign with a focus on how he still wants to fix the economy.
At his “Ready To Go” Rally at the Schottenstein Center Saturday, Obama spoke about the importance of keeping jobs in America, making college more affordable and giving all Americans the chance to succeed financially.
“This crisis took years to develop and the economy is still facing headwinds,” Obama said. “It will take persistent effort, yours and mine, for America to recover. That’s the truth, but we are making progress.”
Brian Agness, a fourth-year in political science, said that before the president’s speech, he expected Obama to focus largely on the economy.
“We haven’t seen the recovery in the economy that people were expecting by now,” Agness said. “It’s an issue that has to be addressed.”
Agness said that because the economy is such an important topic to college students who will be looking for jobs in the near future, he thought Obama needed to reassure college voters that America is on the right track.
“The economy is a hell hole. If you ask the average person, they will probably tell you that they don’t know when the economy is going to bounce back,” Agness said. “Everyone is concerned about the economy, but especially students.”
To an audience of about 14,000, Obama said the economy would benefit in the future by making college more affordable. He said he wants to give two million more Americans the chance to go to community college and learn the skills businesses are looking for.
“In this country, people succeed when they have a chance to get a decent education and learn a skill,” Obama said.
Agness said he was impressed with Obama’s focus on the economy’s future and not just the present problems.
“For the first time in this election, someone is looking to the future with the economy, and not just focusing on the here and now. That is extremely important to me,” Agness said.
Amrita Mukhopadhyay, a fourth-year in biology, said she agreed with the president’s stance that making education affordable would help the economy.
“Education in America is highly regarded worldwide. Both of my parents came to the states for college,” Mukhopadhyay said. “More people should have the chance to study here and be trained for good jobs. I like what he had to say about education and the economy.”
Obama told the crowd potential Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is not the right man to fix America’s economic woes.
“Romney says that our productivity equals our income,” Obama said. “The problem with our economy isn’t that the American people aren’t productive enough. The challenge we face right now, the challenge that we have faced almost a decade, is that harder work hasn’t led to higher income. Bigger projects haven’t led to better jobs. Gov. Romney doesn’t get that.”
Ryan Williams, national spokesperson for Romney’s campaign, said Obama has a failed economic record.
“The president came here and did what he’s continued to do his entire campaign which is talk about anything but his failed economic record and his disappointing policies that have not created jobs for working Americans,” Williams said.
Sam Zuidema, a first-year in history, said he was open to giving Obama a chance prior to his speech, but is now convinced he will vote for Romney.
“I wasn’t very impressed,” Zuidema said. “I don’t think his message has changed much from 2008, when he focused on how bad the economy was. It has been a slow, grueling recovery, and I don’t think he fulfilled his promises. Everyone thought that the economy would be better than it is now.”