Thankfully, I happened to hear large parts of President Obama's speech today in Ohio, the industrial heartland, where they make Jeep vehicles, as it turns out, and found him speaking both to the "choir" and from the "gut"...
He finally came out from behind the screen and spoke aggressively and positively about the Affordable Care act, saying he will work with anyone who wants to improve the act, but "we are not going back" and "there is nothing to be gained by spending the next four years arguing about what we already spent two years arguing about."
He pointed to the flood of cash that is being spent on the campaign, especially on negative, cynical ads, and drew a line between those ads and the possibility that voters might be turned off by Washington and not get out to vote, in November.
You got out to vote in 2008 and we are still fighting the same battle for the middle class, a fight that will take more than one year, even more than one term and possibly more than one president...so talk about what this election means to everyone, not just Democrats, but Independents and Republicans...There are two very different visions from which the American people will choose in November, and we're fighting to restore the middle class job security, health care security so that any American who wants to work hard can have a fair wage, a home and a college education for his children and grandchildren...Remember it was in the 1990's under Bill Clinton that 23 million jobs were created, as well as a balanced budget, and quite a few millionaires and it was our opponents who destroyed that position with two wars funded by credit card, an unfunded prescription bill and unfunded tax cuts for the rich.
From the crowd, we heard shouts of "Fired up and Ready to go!" echoes from 2008, that Obama picked up on, in this first stop on his "Betting on America" tour, dubbed by the Republicans as the "Broken Promises Tour". There was both energy, enthusiasm and even a little humour in Obama's presentation. One example, on the day after Independence Day, referring to his fourteen-year-old daughter Malia who goes into high school in September and who celebrated her birthday on July 4, "I used to be able to tell her that I had arranged all those fireworks in her honour.....(pause to some laughter)....but now she doesn't believe that!"
A confident, almost ebullient campaigner, finally unleashed from Washington, ready for what will be a hot, dry and vicious summer of campaigning... and, it says here, if he can keep his cool and his good humour, come January 20, we could be watching the second Inauguration Day speech and parade, of the Obama presidency.
We will be watching...and hoping for such a result!