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Obama Rallies Supporters in Last Stop Before Convention

  • Kent Klein

President Barack Obama gestures during a rally at Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia, Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012.

President Barack Obama gestures during a rally at Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia, Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012.

WHITE HOUSE — U.S. President Barack Obama says he will try not to let his daughters see him cry when his wife speaks Tuesday night [between 10-11 p.m. EDT] at the Democratic National Convention. The president will watch the speech by Michelle Obama, whom he calls “the star of the Obama family.”

At a campaign rally in Virginia on Tuesday, Obama said he often becomes emotional when the first lady gives a speech.

“So I am going to be at home and I am going to be watching it with our girls, and I am going to try not to let them see their daddy cry," said Obama. "Because when Michelle starts talking, I start getting all misty.”

The president spoke at Norfolk State University in Virginia, his final campaign stop before he goes to his party’s convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he will speak on Thursday.

Virginia is one of the largest of the swing states, which analysts expect to decide the November presidential election. Obama has made dozens of visits to the southern state during the past few months.

In 2008, Obama was the first Democratic presidential candidate to win Virginia since Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Public opinion surveys show the president and Republican nominee Mitt Romney are virtually even there.

With relatively few voters still undecided, both campaigns are trying to persuade their strongest supporters to vote in big numbers.

In Norfolk, the president told a mostly African American crowd that wealthy Republican donors are financing negative television commercials designed to discourage Democrats from going to the polls on November 6.

“And they figure if you do not vote, then big oil will write our energy future, and insurance companies will write our health care plans, and politicians will dictate what a woman can or cannot do when it comes to her own health," said Obama. "They are counting on you to just accept their version of things.”

Meanwhile, Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan was campaigning in another swing state, Ohio, where he told a crowd near Cleveland the president has mishandled the U.S. economy.

“Let’s be very candid. President Obama inherited a difficult situation when he came into office. Here is the problem - he made things worse," he said.

Ryan said Mr. Obama’s economic record is worse than that of former Democratic President Jimmy Carter during the late-1970s. Carter was soundly defeated for reelection by Republican Ronald Reagan in 1980.

“Remember Ronald Reagan talking about Jimmy Carter? ‘Are you better off now than you were four years ago?’ [Crowd: “No!”] Well, you know what? We knew it then and we know it now," said Ryan. "They fired Carter and they hired Reagan. And we are going to do the same thing this time."

Public opinion surveys show President Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Romney almost even, with 63 days remaining before the election.