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September 17, 2014

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Obama, with a Latin-rock twist, rallies thousands of supporters in Las Vegas

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

President Barack Obama waves to supporters at the conclusion of his campaign speech Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, at Desert Pines High School.

Updated Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012 | 8:10 p.m.

Obama at Desert Pines High

President Barack Obama waves to supporters while arriving at a campaign event Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012 at Desert Pines High School. Launch slideshow »

Sept. 30: Obama Arrives in Las Vegas

President Barack Obama waves as he arrives at McCarran International Airport Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012. Obama will attend a campaign rally then stay in Henderson as he prepares for his first debate with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The debate will be held in Colorado Wednesday. Launch slideshow »

It was the most star-studded event billing of what has been a busy presidential campaign season in Southern Nevada, and the crowd revealed as much.

About 11,200 people stood for hours in 90-degree heat Sunday for a chance to see a campaign rally for President Barack Obama that also featured world-famous rock band Maná at Desert Pines High School.

It was Obama’s eighth trip to the Silver State this year, according to the campaign, and the crowd far surpassed the 8,000 the president drew to Cashman Center in September.

Sounding familiar themes from his campaign, Obama promised to ensure opportunity for all, reduce the federal debt “without sticking it to the middle class” and boost manufacturing jobs.

“Now, what I want to promote is a new economic patriotism rooted in the belief we can grow the economy best when everybody’s got a shot,” he said. “I won’t pretend it will be easy to get there. It took us a bunch of years to get us in this mess.

“But I want everybody to know our challenges can be solved and our problems can be met.”

Obama also promised never to turn “Medicare into a voucher program” and said he would continue to work to help underwater homeowners refinance.

He took a couple of shots at his Republican rival Mitt Romney’s campaign, arguing Romney espouses policies responsible for the economic collapse.

“In fairness, my opponent’s got a plan, too,” Obama said. “They think that somehow you can lower our deficits by spending another $5 trillion on tax cuts for the wealthy. No matter how many times they try to reboot their campaign and try to explain it, they can’t.”

Obama also chastised Romney for remarks Romney made that he doesn’t have to worry about winning over the 47 percent of Americans already supporting Obama.

“Four years ago, 47 percent of the people didn’t vote for me,” Obama said. “They voted for John McCain. That’s the way Democracy works. But on election night, I said, ‘I may not have won your vote, but I heard your voice.’”

Obama closed his 25-minute speech with a plea for help from his supporters.

“If you stand with me and work with me, we will win Clark County again,” he said. “We will win Nevada again. We will win this election again. We will finish what we started.”

Obama’s rally was the start of a three-day stay in Southern Nevada.

He arrived in Las Vegas at 12:40 p.m., traveling immediately to the Westin Lake Las Vegas to begin preparing for the first debate of the presidential campaign Wednesday.

“You may have a heard in a few days my opponent and I are going to have a debate. I’m looking forward to it,” Obama said at the start of his rally speech. “I don’t know who is going to put the most points on the board. … Gov. Romney, he’s a good debater, I’m just OK. But what I’m most concerned about is having a serious discussion about what we need to do to keep the country going.”

While standing in line before the event, Las Vegas resident Lucy Bonilla said that she has been a Maná fan since she was 12 years old, but she was more excited to see Obama.

“If I had to give Obama a grade for his first term, it would be a B+,” Bonilla said. “It hasn’t been 100 percent perfect, but I know he can accomplish more. He needs to focus on the economy, schools and immigration.”

Before Obama’s speech, Maná played a handful of their biggest hits, including “Mariposa Traicionera” and “Corazon Espinado.”

After the first song, lead singer Fernando Olvera said in Spanish that they chose to play an Obama event because they believe he is “the best option for all Latinos,” and then he urged everyone to “get out and vote.”

In the latest ImpreMedia/Latin Decisions poll of Hispanic voters, 71 percent said they had a “very favorable” or “somewhat favorable” impression of the president, while 26 percent said the same of Romney.

The temperature was well over 90 degrees today, but that did not deter Obama's supporters from lining up as early as 10 a.m. for the rally. The high temperatures led some to seek medical attention for heat exhaustion.

Husband and wife Denny and Lisa Tessmer got in line at 10 a.m. for their first Obama rally of the year. They have a 28-year-old son who is in Afghanistan with the Marines. One of their top concerns is ending the war.

"I'm a little worried about how close the election is, but I think Obama will pull it out in the end," Lisa Tessmer said before the event. "He deserves a second term. People expected so much from him right away, and it was a big mess that he started with."

In addition to Obama's supporters, protesters gathered outside the event. The Romney campaign also circulated a mobile billboard at the Obama event that read "12.1 percent Unemployment — Highest in the Nation / You Built This."

Political action committee Tea Party Express was in Las Vegas for a rally on Sunday as well.

"President Obama and the Democrats are grossly out of touch with Americans and the economic struggles of our nation. However, we have a chance to correct our path in November. This bus tour will focus on states and districts we need in order to gain control of Congress and the White House. We want to engage and educate voters on the conservative solutions that will return our nation to a path towards prosperity,” Tea Party Express Chairman Amy Kremer said in a statement announcing the group’s bus tour stop in Southern Nevada.

Ann Romney will host a campaign rally Monday at the Henderson Convention Center, 200 S. Water St. The doors open at 1 p.m., and the event is expected to start at 3:40 p.m.

On Friday, Craig Romney, son of the GOP nominee, was in Las Vegas to cut the ribbon on a new campaign office at 235 N. Eastern Ave, Suite 112. The office, just east of downtown Las Vegas, was billed by the campaign as a new outpost for Romney to reach out to Hispanic voters.

Although the campaign rally is the only public event on Obama's schedule, he's expected to make some unannounced local stops during his stay in Henderson.

Campaign advisers David Axelrod and Joe Benenson traveled with Obama on Air Force One to Las Vegas. Sen. John Kerry, who stands in as Republican Mitt Romney during mock debates, also will help Obama with his debate preparation this week.

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  1. Bravo Obama!

  2. Screwed up the economy and wants four more years without restrictions?? How dumb are the voters of this state? Rhetorical question, we keep electing Reid... Kind of answers the question

  3. Even though the President has repeated this speech many times, the content of the speech tells us the President is working to include all Americans to have opportunity. Education is the key, and a big part of the President's agenda for his next term.

    Eleven thousand people coming out on a Sunday evening to listen to the President of the United States here in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can be sure that Democrats and Republicans, especially independents were in attendance.

    President Obama will win Nevada by 6 to 8 points.

  4. <<Time for the republicans to start looking ahead to 2016. Maybe put Chris Christie on a four-year diet and get his weight down to 300-325 lbs by 2016>>

    They already are!!! All were speakers at the RNC!!

  5. Obama and Romney are both borrow and spenders. Neither has a plan to balance the budget. Both support the NDAA, the Patriot Act, the war without end in Eurasia, the War on Drugs, and subsidies for coal and tobacco companies. Banks, oil, drug, and medical insurance companies, have done great under Obama, just like they will if Romney gets elected. Other than social issues, how much difference is there between these two?

  6. Well he can't run on his record and he can't read from a teleprompter during the debate..
    Four more years should fix it where my grandson will never be out of debt...

  7. "Obama promised to ensure opportunity for all" unlike the Las Vegas Sun who deleted comments and pulled all comments yesterday for "While visiting Southern Nevada, Mr. President, why not try this?"

    This is a U.S. Presidential election and Las Vegas Sun's attempt to control free speech is shameful!

    Las Vegas Sun erred in trying to be politically correct denying factual comments that are a direct consequence from President Obamas "Electric Drive Vehicle Battery and Component Manufacturing Initiative" that affects the health and safety of Nevadan's here in Nevada and is the very definition and practice of Hazardous Negligence ...Paul Rupp B125 SP NV 89047

  8. Only thing I know for a fact is that he said don't spend your money in Vegas almost 4 years ago. I guess is okay that he spends taxpayer dollars coming here what seems like once a month. How do you know when politicians are lying (regardless of party affiliation), their mouths are moving. And to have the gall to ask the citizens for a sawbuck to support him, NOT HARDLY. We are a nation, divided, and that is the problem. We only have strength when united (hence these United States). Again, we are faced with choosing the best of the worst. The current president has not done the country any good, but the slogging emergence from the 'Great Recession' was a function of time, and nothing else.

  9. Mr. Dunton,

    It appears you have selective memory. Your fact is missing the rest of the sentence.

    He said "If you are saving to put the kids through college don't blow the college fund in Vegas."

    He also told companies that were bailed out with Tax Payer funds to not be blowing "That Money" in Vegas.

    Now to most people with common sense that would make perfectly good sense but the problem in America today is most don't plan ahead or use common sense.

    It is easy to lay blame when you only use part of anyones comments.

    Vote for who works for you but when doing so try to use facts instead of B.S. talking points that are not FACTS.

  10. It's over, Tea/Republicans.

    Very hard to make a case for your candidate when one comes here to campaign and talk to the voters out here (President Obama), while the other one comes here to fund raise and sit down with Mr. Adelson and amass money, money, money, moh money, moh money, MOH MONEY ONLY (Romney).

    Clearly shows the priorities. It's an issue of transparency, truthfulness and openess. And Romney ain't got any of those qualities.

    Obama/Biden 2012!

    Romney/Ryan 1040s please! Everything my Senator (Reid) has been accusing you of all these months has STILL never been proven false. Cough 'em up, Romney. You're hidin' something. Something so devastating it will turn your whole campaign into a joke and render you unelectable.