DURHAM, N.H. – Hours before the first presidential debate, former President Bill Clinton told more than 1,600 New Hampshire voters that President Obama's scorecard on jobs, health care reform and education easily beats Mitt Romney's.
Clinton said this is especially true for the hundreds of University of New Hampshire students who were present inside the Lundholm Gymnasium on Wednesday afternoon. According to Durham Fire Chief Corey Landry, 1,675 people attended the event.
Clinton said the economic agenda supported by Romney and the president are like night and day. “The differences are stark, all you have to do is look at the scorecard.”
When the president went to the Republican Congress to get support for a jobs bill to help 700,000 public sector employees keep their jobs at schools, fire departments, police departments and other municipal and state agencies, Clinton said the Republican Tea Party lawmakers chose “austerity now” like some European countries who are on the verge of economic collapse.
“The scorecard is the Obama administration plus 4.5 million, the Republican Congress negative 700,000. I can add and subtract and the Obama scorecard is clearly better,” Clinton said.
Clinton said Obama wants to make the U.S. a leader in the solar and wind power industry, which would lead to another 2.5 million jobs. When President Obama took office, we generated 2 percent of the batteries made to power hybrid and electric cars. Next year, we will be at 40 percent, he said.
Clinton said the reason Obama is ahead by 8 points in Ohio polls is because he saved the automobile industry in what the is the second most important state for automobile manufacturing in the United States. “They know who is going to fix the economy.”
Here in New Hampshire, a recent UNH Survey Center poll showed that Obama has a 15-point lead over Romney.
On college education, Clinton said, “This is a very big deal.”
While Obama passed a national reform to lower student loan interest rates, Clinton said Romney has said he would repeal it.
Clinton also gave another shout out to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Maggie Hassan, who introduced him. “If I lived in New Hampshire, I would vote for Maggie Hassan because the University of New Hampshire doesn’t get enough support from the state legislature and you will get a lot more support from her,” he said.
On the Affordable Care Act, which Romney and Ryan have vowed to repeal if they win, Clinton said, “You don’t want to repeal this law.”
Since Obama signed the act into law in 2010, Clinton said the American people have received $1.3 billion in refunds young people can stay on their parents’ health plans until they are 26. Clinton said the national health care reform also includes many incentives for health care providers to make their plans more affordable.
Meanwhile, Clinton said that as governor of Massachusetts, Romney signed into law a state health care reform plan to offset that state’s skyrocketing health insurance costs and now says he is against the Affordable Care Act. “He has renounced the only part of his record that is worth advocating in this election,” Clinton said.
He said Romney's comments about how 47 percent of Americans don't want to pay federal income tax is a contradiction. "The guy with a tax account in the Cayman Island is attacking other people for not wanting to pay their federal income taxes,” Clinton joked.
“That’s like Congressman Ryan criticizing Barack Obama for having the same Medicare savings he did,” Clinton said. “When you bust somebody for something you did, it takes a lot of gall.”
Clinton said most of the 47 percent are "families who work" and they should not have to toil away with a tax code that gives them no way to climb out of poverty.
“This is a country that honors hard work and believes that you shouldn’t have to raise children in poverty,” Clinton said.
He said many of the 47 percent pay payroll taxes, Social Security taxes and Medicare taxes even if they are not able to pay federal income taxes.
Clinton said those Americans who do not pay federal income tax “would love to pay it because if they could they would be moving on up.”
At the end of the day, Clinton told the young and older New Hampshire voters present, “You have decide, every young person who has more tomorrows than yesterdays.”
“The president’s economic plan is better in the short run and better in the long run,” Clinton said. “There is no country in the world succeeding with a ‘you’re on your own’ strategy as much countries with a ‘we’re all in this together strategy.’”
Clinton also made note that he and the president both came from poor families and had to work their way through college.
“I don’t need a lecture about personal responsibility,” Clinton said. “I had six jobs in law school and a loan and I paid it back, every last penny.”
During her introduction, Hassan also urged voters to make their voices heard on election day and reiterated her promise to strengthen the University System of New Hampshire if elected governor.
“I also have a plan to begin restoring the cuts to UNH and freezing tuition,” Hassan said.
Hassan said when New Hampshire voters go to polls on Nov. 6, they will see that “up and down the ballot there is a clear choice between moving forward or falling backward.”
New Hampshire state Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, attended Clinton's event at UNH and issued the following response:
“With 23 million Americans unemployed and looking for more work, it is no surprise that Vice President Biden thinks that the middle class has been buried the past four years under the Obama Administration’s failed policies. The middle class has seen its take home pay decline by more than $4,000, one in six Americans are living in poverty, and 47 million people are on food stamps. President Obama is offering four more years of the last four years, and it’s clear we need a change in the White House.”