KAPOLEI, Hawaii -- Politicking in his boyhood home, President Barack Obama told supporters yesterday that everything they worked for and that the country stands for is on the line in his 2012 re-election bid, warning of a bleak America should a Republican win.
At ease in Hawaii, where he was born and vacations each year, Obama sprinkled his standard campaign speech with personal memories and called himself the "hometown kid." But his message turned urgent in trying to get his backers to think of the next election as a choice between a vision of a big country of opportunity or one where regular people lose their voice.
"You kept up the fight for change long after the election was over, and that should make you proud," Obama said inside a lush resort on the western side of Oahu. "It should make you hopeful. But it can't make you satisfied." He added: "Everything we fought for in the last election is now at stake in the next election. The very core of what this country stands for is on the line."
Obama made time for domestic politics and the constant demand for cash amid a nine-day trip otherwise dominated by foreign affairs.
He was enjoying a lighter schedule yesterday after hosting an Asia-Pacific economic summit of 21 nations over the weekend, and before departing today for Australia. He was also to visit Indonesia before returning to Washington Sunday.
The president sought to defend his record of change as more than a campaign slogan. Obama reminded his audience that he has presided over the return of the American auto industry, financial help for college students, higher fuel efficiency for cars and more.
The president spoke in the waterfront Disney-themed Aulani Resort to a relaxed crowd of about 250 people at a fundraising brunch, where tickets started at $1,000 per person.