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Thu Oct 23 21:54:50 SAST 2014

Confident Obama hits back at Republican rival

Sapa-AP | 04 September, 2012 00:00
Students on the Boulder campus of the University of Colorado mob US president and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama during his election campaign at the weekend Picture: LARRY DOWNING/REUTERS

President Barack Obama travelled south yesterday to visit a region ravaged by Hurricane Isaac as delegates began to gather for the Democratic convention that will anoint him presidential nominee.

Obama had planned to spend yesterday, Labour Day, meeting officials in Louisiana, touring areas affected by the storm and checking on response-and-recovery efforts.

Republican nominee Mitt Romney, fresh from his party's convention, visited the state on Friday.

Obama's trip was made a day after he and Vice-President Joe Biden campaigned separately across three highly contested states as delegates descended on Charlotte, North Carolina, for the convention.

Obama and his supporters will try to convince voters to stick with the president they know rather than gamble on Romney.

The economy is the dominant issue of the campaign.

Biden's itinerary on Sunday underscored the threat that a sluggish economic recovery and high unemployment pose to Democrats wanting another term in power.

He was in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, states that have received little attention previously as the candidates, their parties and allies concentrate on the areas of the country deemed most competitive.

His presence suggested that the race in both states was tightening.

At the University of Colorado, Obama urged students to register and vote.

He benefited enormously from the support of younger voters four years ago and can ill-afford a fallout with them in 2012.

Democrats regard the passage of Obama's sweeping healthcare reforms as a high point of achievement for him during his term. But the law has also unified Republicans, who argue that it amounts to a government takeover of the healthcare system and is a budget-buster to boot.

Obama has lately been eager to answer his critics, and did more than that in his speech.

"Governor Romney promised that, on his first day in office, he's going to sit down, grab a pen and repeal Obamacare," the president said.

"What that means is that right away he'd kick 7million young people off their parents' [healthcare] plan. He'd take hope away from tens of millions of Americans with pre-exiting conditions by repealing reform," he said.

"You know, he calls it Obamacare. I like the name.

"I do care . I don't know exactly what the other side is proposing; I guess you could call it 'Romney doesn't care'.

"But this law is here to stay."

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