Over and over Thursday, President Barack Obama told workers at a renewable energy company that he is like them.
He remembers pumping gas when high oil prices ate a hole in his budget, he said. He knows he wouldn’t have made it through college without scholarships and loans.
And now as president, he promised that he won’t let the current debate on deficit reduction deny others the chance for the American dream he has lived.
“We can’t ignore future deficits, but just as ignoring deficits would mortgage our future, failing to invest in our kids and our infrastructure and our basic research and clean energy, that would be mortgaging our future, as well,” he said to applause. “And I’m not willing to do it.”
Repeating past calls for ending subsidies for oil companies and restoring higher tax rates for the highest-income Americans, Obama defended what he called his balanced approach to deficit reduction and depicted the Republican stance as favoring the well-to-do.
“I’m rooting for everybody to get rich,” he said. “But I believe that we can’t ask everybody to sacrifice and then tell the wealthiest among us, well, you can just relax and go count your money, and don’t worry about it. We’re not going to ask anything of you.”