Obama talks voting, ‘Romnesia’ with 15,000 in Richmond


President Barack Obama addresses 15,000 people in Byrd Park. Photo by Chris Conway.

Ryan Murphy
News Editor

President Barack Obama requested the support of a crowd of 15,000 people during a speech at the Carillon at Byrd Park.

Obama spent much of Thursday’s 20-minute address reiterating his accomplishments while in office and addressing contentious social issues, including women’s reproductive rights.

“I don’t think any male politician should be making healthcare decisions for women,” he said. “You can choose to turn back the clock 50 years for women and immigrants and gays or you can stand up for that basic principle … that we’re all created equal.”

Obama’s speech was part of a 48-hour whirlwind tour of crucial swing states, including Iowa, Colorado and Nevada. His voice was noticeably hoarse from what he called an “all-nighter.”

During the address, the president also took a few shots at his opponent, Republican challenger and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

“If you can’t remember what you said just a week ago … and you’re worried you might be coming down with a case of Romnesia, I want you to know, Obamacare covers pre-existing conditions,” he said, referencing the Obama campaign’s catchphrase for what they claim are Romney’s frequent changes in position.

The crowd was energetic and responsive during the speech. At one point, the president had to stop speaking when he was drowned out by chants of “four more years.” The enthusiasm persisted despite an unseasonal heat. EMTs treated at least 30 people for heat exhaustion.

Other speakers at the event included two former Virginia governors: senatorial candidate Tim Kaine and Senator Mark Warner. Their speeches focused on reminding supporters how important Virginia had been in Obama’s election in 2008 and encouraging them to vote on Nov. 6.

Obama closed his address with an appeal to the crowd for last-minute help with campaign efforts.

“If you’re willing to roll up your sleeves with me and work with me, to knock on some doors with me … we’ll win this election,” he said.

Obama had campaigned in Tampa Bay, Fla. earlier in the day. After the Richmond address, the campaign stopped in Obama’s hometown of Chicago to allow the president to cast his vote early. A fourth campaign stop in Cincinnati was planned for Thursday night.

The speech comes after a Thursday morning declaration of support from former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who said he voted for him in 2008 and will continue to support the president.

Check out a full photo gallery of the event here.

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