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Obama Kicks Off Closing Argument Tour in Wisconsin

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(GREEN BAY, Wis.) -- President Obama is officially back on the campaign trail in full swing, delivering his closing argument at a chilly tarmac rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin -- steps from Air Force One -- after an unprecedented and unanticipated two-day pause in the home stretch thanks to Hurricane Sandy.

Obama invoked the super-storm, and the lessons he’s taken from it, to set the tone for his three-state, 16-hour swing with just five days of campaigning to Election Day.

“All the petty differences seem to melt away. There are no Republicans or Democrats during a storm,” he said. Referring to his visit to the disaster zone in New Jersey on Wednesday, Obama said he saw “a spirit that says in the end we’re all in this together. That we rise and fall as one nation and one people.”

Pivoting to his campaign, Obama said the same outlook has guided his presidency and the “change” he’s helped bring about -- hitting his rival Mitt Romney for running what he called a fundamentally different definition of change.  

“He’s saying he’s the candidate of change. Well let me tell you Wisconsin ,we know what change looks like. And what he’s offering isn’t change,” he said. Obama then went into a riff on how what Romney proposes on taxes, regulation and social policy is a throwback to the past. He added, “turning Medicare into a voucher is change, but we don’t want that change.”

“I know what change looks like because I fought for it,” he said. “And after all we’ve been through together, we sure as heck can’t give up now.”

“We don’t need a big government agenda or a small government agenda. We need a middle class agenda. We don’t need a partisan agenda,” he said. “We need a vision that says we don’t just look out for ourselves, we look out for one another and future generations… that’s the change we believe in that’s what it’s all about…Their bet is on cynicism… Wisconsin my bet is on you…”

Obama also plugged former President Bill Clinton, who has been barnstorming the country on his behalf, suggesting they share the same economic philosophy: “For eight years we had a president who shared these beliefs. His name was Bill Clinton. He asked the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more… critics at the time said killed jobs etc.… math back then was just as bad as it is today…”

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