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July 22, 2017

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Obama out to renew magic; Romney hits defense cuts

SEMINOLE, Florida -- Eager to change the subject after a dismal jobs report, President Barack Obama tried to rekindle some of the enthusiasm of his 2008 campaign with a bus tour through a must-win swath of Florida, urging supporters not to "buy into the cynicism that somehow the change we fought for isn't possible."

Republican candidate Mitt Romney faulted both his own party in Congress and Obama for exposing the armed forces to huge spending cuts.

Obama, speaking to a crowd of 11,000 at the Seminole campus of St. Petersburg College, gave Florida residents a populist plea not to "turn away now."

"If you give up the idea that your voice can make a difference," Obama said, "then other folks are going to fill the void: the lobbyists, the special interests, the people who are writing US$10 million checks, the folks who are trying to keep people from voting" in the Nov. 6 election.

Campaigning in a state where the 8.8 percent jobless rate tops the U.S. national average, the president made no mention of Friday's government report showing a weak employment outlook for America. But he urged people to help him "finish what we started," and he put creating more jobs at the top of his to-do list.

The president called on people to rally behind "real, achievable goals that will lead to new jobs and more opportunity."

Romney, campaigning in military-dependent Virginia, was determined to keep the spotlight on the weak jobs outlook, laid out in the latest Labor Department report on unemployment. It was the first topic he raised in an appearance before a flag-waving audience of 4,000 in a hanger at the private Military Aviation Museum, vintage aircraft on display around him.

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