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President Obama delivers upbeat message in Kissimmee

President Barack Obama greets supporters as he arrives at a rally at the Kissimmee Civic Center in Kissimmee, Florida, Saturday, September 8, 2012.

By Scott Powers, Orlando Sentinel –

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Sounding emboldened from the Democratic National Convention, President Barack Obama delivered an unashamed call Saturday afternoon for support for the pragmatic and more liberal principles behind his presidency inside a small civic center rocked by deafening roars.

Obama’s 36-minute address in the Kissimmee Civic Center covered moderate policies and programs ranging from increasing the country’s energy independence to expanding Florida ports (in Jacksonville and Miami) to increase shipping.

But he also gave unabashed defenses of his more liberal positions and policies ranging from his “dreamers” order allowing some young illegal immigrants to stay to support for gay marriage to a woman’s right to choose abortions.

Often the president sounded far more aggressive than in past Central Florida appearances, including an August speech in Winter Park.

This speech, before a mixed crowd estimated at 3,000 that mirrored the Kissimmee area in color — white, black and brown — was almost identical to one the president delivered earlier in the day in suburban St. Petersburg during this first day of his two-day Florida bus tour.

The president made little reference to the large Latino support he hopes to get in Osceola County.

Yet the crowd was worked up, often roaring, sometimes pounding seats, sometimes drowning out his public address system as Obama made the case for a regulated economic recovery, versus a free-market economic recovery.

“Here’s our vision: we’re fighting to restore the basic bargain that build the largest middle-class that the world has ever known. We’ve built the greatest economy the world has ever known. The bargain is real simple. The promise is if you work hard, it will pay off. The promise is if you work responsibly you will be rewarded and everyone in this country gets a fair shot. Everybody plays by the same rules, from Main Street to Wall Street to Washington D.C.

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At times Obama belittled Republicans for obsessing about taxes and wanting to deregulate Wall Street.

“They are offering the same, worn-out plan that they’ve had for 30 years. Tax cuts. Tax cuts. Roll back in regulations. Then have some more tax cuts,” Obama said. “Tax cuts when times are good. Tax cuts when times are bad. Tax cuts to lose a few pounds. Tax cuts to improve your love life.

“I’ve cut taxes for folks who need it,” Obama continued. “A typical family is paying $3,600 less now in taxes. We cut taxes for small businesses 18 times. But I don’t think we need another round of tax cuts for millionaires.”

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Obama is taking a bus tour of Florida this weekend, starting with a stop at St. Petersburg College in Seminole and finishing Sunday with speeches in Melbourne and West Palm Beach.

Away from the Seminole speech, authorities say two F-16 fighter jets intercepted a small plane that violated airspace restricted for Obama’s visit to the Tampa Bay area.

As in Charlotte, Obama acknowledged that the economy is not recovering as quickly or strongly as he hoped but he insisted he never said the recovery would be quick or easy. He also made no mention of the latest national jobs numbers, which showed little growth.

Meanwhile, the campaign of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney pushed the notion that the economy has stalled and Obama has failed.

“As yesterday’s dismal jobs report showed — and as President Obama admitted — job creation in America isn’t good enough, yet he didn’t lay out any new ideas for getting our economy back on track. ‘Not good enough’ simply isn’t adequate for the American people,” Romney’s campaign spokesman Ryan Williams stated in a news release focused on Obama’s Florida trip. “In November, we will have a choice between a new direction or more of the same. Mitt Romney will make sure middle class families are strengthened over the next four years and the devastation they have experienced under the Obama administration comes to an end.”

The Obama campaign announced that on Tuesday President Bill Clinton will deliver remarks at a campaign event in the Miami area, and on Wednesday, Clinton will deliver remarks at a campaign event in the Orlando area.

Details about Clinton’s stops in Florida are forthcoming.

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