President Obama speaks to Cleveland State crowd, boasts new unemployment numbers

Edward DeTomaso

President Obama made his most recent campaign stop Friday at Cleveland State University and was greeted by thousands of soaking wet supporters. The crowd waited for hours in the rain for Obama to arrive after a speech in Virginia.

The grassroots campaign event came amid new unemployment figures that bode well for the President’s bid for reelection. The unemployment rate, now at 7.8 percent, is the lowest it’s been since January 2009.

“I believe that as a nation, we are moving forward again. When I was sworn into office we were losing 800,000 jobs a month,” Obama said. “The unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since I took office. Today’s news should give us some encouragement.”

Obama also said he would fully support programs that help college students pay their tuition if he is reelected. A comment that made the heavily populated student crowd erupt.

Chantelle Carr, a Cleveland resident, already voted early for President Obama but was excited to hear what he had to say.

“He’s the best President we’ve had in a long time, and the unemployment rate is just another way of proving it,” she said. “I was going to vote for him regardless, but this is good news. I feel like he’s done a good job for these four years.”

The new unemployment statistics also come after a perceived weak debate performance by the President that concerned many of his supporters.

Theresa Finch, an Obama supporter, was not worried by his debate performance and was impressed with today’s speech.

“Obama’s good, and he’s for all of us,” Finch said. “He knows what he is doing and is an amazing man. His debating skills are just fine.”

Obama also made light of comments made by Mitt Romney in Wednesday’s debate. Romney vowed to eliminate spending that he deems unnecessary considering the growing national debt. One example he cited was the cutting of funds for the Public Broadcast Service.

“Mitt Romney wants to let Wall Street run wild again, but he wants to bring the hammer down on Sesame Street,” Obama said. “Do you want me to save Big Bird?”

Thomas Roger, a language teacher visiting from France, was thrilled to get to hear the speech and feels that Europe is hoping for Obama to get reelected.

“Unemployment is a big issue in Europe for economic reasons. It’s a big issue everywhere,” he said. “In France and Europe I know that Obama is appreciated and very popular. It is very important for us that he stays because he is starting to do a very good job. We are connected.”

Ebrahim Elbagory, a Euclid high school student, admitted to skipping school to see the speech.

“Only so many people get to say they saw the President. For me, job numbers are important because one day I’m going to be alone, struggling to find a job, trying to get paid and make a family,” he said. “Our school levy did not pass in Euclid so I think that changed everybody’s mind.”

The deadline to register to vote in Ohio is Oct. 9 and many people at the event were urging people to get involved if they had not already done so.

After today’s event in Cleveland, Obama will travel to California for fundraising events with names like Jon Bon Jovi, Katy Perry and Stevie Wonder.

Chantelle Carr thinks Obama’s stop in Cleveland showed that he cares about the city and its residents.

“It means a lot that he came to Cleveland, little itty-bitty Cleveland,” she said. “He could be anywhere else, but he’s here today with us.”

Contact Edward DeTomaso at [email protected].