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president obama senator rubio orlando florida (left) President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign event at Rollins College on August 2. (Photo: AP Photo/John Raoux); (right) Florida Senator Marco Rubio speaks at a Romney campaign event in Orlando on August 2. (Photo courtesy Topanga Sena)

Election 2012: Campaign Heats Up in Florida

President Obama, Senator Rubio address voters in a crucial swing state

By Topanga Sena | null null , null

ORLANDO, Florida — With less than 100 days before Election Day, the campaign trail is really heating up. Lines are drawn in the sand. The Republican and Democratic Parties are campaigning hard along the I-4 corridor in Central Florida and are asking Floridians to pick a side.

Last week, both the Obama and Romney campaigns were in Orlando to appeal to voters in this crucial swing state.

Free Enterprise Opens Up A Better Economy

The first event was held by the Romney campaign and featured Florida Senator Marco Rubio. Rubio spoke to about 100 voters outside Harbco General Contractors.

Standing at a podium that featured a sign that read "Obama isn't working," Rubio's speech focused on Mitt Romney's plan to grow the economy through free enterprise.

"Free enterprise is a pretty straightforward concept," Rubio said. "Government has a role to play. It provides for security, it provides a certain set of predictable rules so everyone is playing by the same rules on the same field. It invests in infrastructure and in education, primarily at the state level, but the rest belongs to us – to our dreams and to our hopes."

Rubio also spoke about the importance of this election. He criticized President Barack Obama's policies and said the President doesn't understand or believe in free enterprise.

Rubio has been mentioned as a potential running mate for Romney.

"Today millions of people live in the middle class across this planet because of the American example and it reminds us that our obligations are not just to ourselves, but to all mankind," Rubio said. "That is why this election matters."

Rubio is of Hispanic descent. He spoke about his upbringing with a family who, as immigrants, worked jobs to provide stability for their family through free enterprise.

After his speech, he told the Kids Press Corps why it's important to vote in this election.

"I think Americans of Hispanic descent understand the greatness of America as well or better than anybody in this country," Rubio told the Kids Press Corps. "They desperately want to give their kids the chance to do everything they couldn't do. That's what we're fighting for."

Middle Out, Not Top Down

Later in the day, President Obama made a "grassroots" stop at Rollins College to speak about his plans for the economy. Nearly 2,400 supporters greeted the President with chants of "Four more years!" They even sang "Happy Birthday" to him. (Obama turned 51 two days after the event.)

"A win in Florida wouldn't be a bad birthday present," President Obama joked.

Like Rubio, Obama told his listeners that this election is about two different visions for America. The President said he believes the only way to create an economy built to last is by building it from the middle out, not the top down.

"Middle" means the middle class. His plans to restore middle-class economic security include paying down our national debt in way that ensures everyone pays their fair share. At the same time, the nation must invest in things we need for the future: education, energy independence, innovation, and infrastructure (like roads and bridges)

"If you're fortunate enough to be in the [top] 2 percent of Americans, like I am, all we're asking is that we contribute a little bit more so that we can pay down our debt and so that we can invest in all those things that help us grow as an economy," said President Obama.

The President closed his speech by reiterating his determination and belief to lead this country in a positive direction. And he asked for Floridian's support by encouraging them register to vote and come out to the polls on November 6.

"I promise you, we will finish what we started and we will remind the world just why it is that the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth," he said.


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