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Obama Makes Final Push For Second Term


President Obama is on the road, too, after spending time to focus on helping the Northeast recover from the massive storm called Sandy. A politician at the center of that storm is now backing the president. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has endorsed the president for reelection, saying he has the values and the vision to guide the country into the future, even though Bloomberg added he was disappointed with the past four years under President Obama.

The president holds three campaign rallies today in the crucial battleground state of Ohio. NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Mayor Bloomberg says Hurricane Sandy, the second big storm to strike New York City in just over a year, has brought the stakes of Tuesday's election into sharp relief. He praised Mr. Obama for taking major steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. And he criticized Mitt Romney for abandoning the very cap-and-trade program that Romney once championed as Massachusetts' governor.

The president said in a statement, he's honored by Bloomberg's endorsement, and he promised the federal government will stand by New York as it recovers from this week's storm.

In between campaign rallies yesterday, Mr. Obama was on the phone with leaders from throughout the Northeast, discussing hurricane relief.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We've got military transport getting equipment in to get the power back on. We've got food and water and medical supplies that we're shipping in. And we're not going to stop. Because what we understand is that this could happen to any of us.

HORSLEY: There are no Democrats or Republicans during a storm, Mr. Obama said, just fellow Americans.

Even as he endorsed the president, Bloomberg complained that Mr. Obama spent too little time and effort in his first term building and sustaining a centrist coalition. He said the president needs to listen to people on both sides of the aisle to build the trust of moderates.

Mr. Obama seemed willing, as he campaigned yesterday. We don't need a big government agenda or a small government agenda, he said. We need a middle class agenda.


OBAMA: We need a vision that says we don't just look out for ourselves.


OBAMA: We look out for one another.

We look out for future generations. We meet those obligations, working together. That's the change we believe in. And that's what this election is all about.

HORSLEY: Bloomberg said he might have supported the moderate version of Romney who ran for the Senate in 1994 or governor in 2003. But since then, he complained, Romney has reversed course on numerous issues, including immigration, gun control, and health care.

Mr. Obama mocked his Republican rival yesterday for trying to co-opt the mantle of change.


OBAMA: Leaving millions without health insurance isn't change.


OBAMA: Another $5 trillion tax cut that favors the wealthy isn't change.


OBAMA: Turning Medicare into a voucher is change, but we don't want that change.

HORSLEY: As the campaign enters its final weekend, Mr. Obama is pointing to progress made by the U.S. economy on his watch. Rising consumer confidence suggests many people agree.

With unemployment persistently high, though, campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki says Mr. Obama is not letting up.

JEN PSAKI: As he says every day, until everybody who wants a job has a job, his job is not done.

HORSLEY: Congressional Republicans continue to block many of the president's economic proposals. Mr. Obama complains the GOP has adopted a cynical strategy of fostering gridlock in hopes of winning back the White House.


OBAMA: And what they're counting on now, is that the American people will be so worn down by all the squabbling in Washington, so tired of all the dysfunction, that you'll actually reward their obstruction and put people back in charge who advocate the very same policies that got us into this mess.

HORSLEY: Mr. Obama says he's willing to compromise with politicians from either party. But he told supporters he won't back down on priorities - such as student aid or Medicare - in order to give more tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans.


OBAMA: That's not bipartisanship. That's not real change. That's surrender to the same status quo that's hurt middle class families for way too long. And I'm not ready to give up on the fight just yet.

HORSLEY: Mr. Obama will be waging that fight in earnest this weekend, even as he tries to leave room for grand bargains - on tax policy, deficit reduction, on immigration reform - if he's successful in winning a second term.

Scott Horsley, NPR News, traveling with the president.


INSKEEP: As Election Day approaches, people across the political spectrum are getting their news from their local public radio stations - stations like this one that bring you MORNING EDITION. You can continue following us throughout the day on social media. We're on Facebook. You can also find us on Twitter. You can find us, among other places, @MORNINGEDITION and @nprinskeep.


INSKEEP: You're listening to MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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