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President Barack Obama pleads for support from enthusiastic crowd in Tampa

Times photo, Daniel Wallace

Portraying himself as the candidate of moderation and middle-class values, President Barack Obama pleaded Friday with an adoring and raucous crowd of supporters at Hillsborough Community College to help him defeat Mitt Romney in November.

"We don't need more top-down economics," Obama said. "We need a plan for better education, energy independence, innovation, infrastructure that can rebuild America, a tax code that encourages companies to keep jobs here in the United States and asks the wealthiest Americans to pay down the deficit, to pay their fair share."

From the start of the 35-minute speech, the tone and pace felt more like a rowdy church revival. Obama bounded on stage, sleeves rolled up as U2's City of Blinding Lights played on the loudspeakers. Throughout the speech, the crowd to break into chants of "Four more years."

But while the speech was an enthusiastic one, Obama told of the tough days and tight race ahead, when he'll need as much support as he can get.

"Since the last time I ran, my hair is a little grayer, and I know we've been through some tough times together," Obama said. "But I told you back in 2008 that I would always tell you what I thought, that I would wake up every day thinking of you and fighting for you. Tampa, I have kept that promise. I still believe in you. I need you to still believe in me."

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Posted by Amy Hollyfield at 5:22:14 pm on June 22, 2012