Obama slams Republicans on tax
Chicago - US President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that Republicans would fight to their "last breath" to protect the rich, as he stepped up the pace of his 2012 re-election bid in his hometown of Chicago.
Obama also defended the change he enacted in his first three years in office, including healthcare reform, his decision to allow gays to serve openly in the military and his fulfilment of a vow to end the war in Iraq.
"Everything that we fought for is now at stake in this election, the very core of what this country stands for is on the line."
"That's what change is," Obama said, also noting that "Osama bin Laden will never walk on this earth again", referring to the US special forces mission he ordered in 2011 to kill the al-Qaeda leader in Pakistan.
"These changes weren't easy - some of them were risky, almost all of them came in the face of powerful opposition," Obama said.
In the first of a series of fundraising events in Chicago, Obama complained that Republicans in Congress and those fighting for the party's presidential nomination had no plan to create jobs or to strengthen the middle class.
"They will fight with their last breath to protect tax cuts for the most fortunate Americans," Obama said, accusing his foes of wanting to gut government investment in the economy and America's creaking infrastructure.
"We cannot go back to this brand of 'you are on your own economics'."
Obama also paid his first visit to his re-election campaign's headquarters, shortly after returning to his home town on a visit due to last just a few hours.
Spokesperson Josh Earnest said Obama wanted to thank his political team for working hard in Chicago, so that he could focus on his job as president.
"He both thanked his staffers for their hard works and encouraged them, saying that he hoped to run 'a campaign that embodies the values we're fighting for'," Earnest said.
Obama's wife Michelle was also on the campaign trail on Wednesday, stumping in Virginia, a crucial swing state that Obama won in 2008; that he hopes to retain on his way to the 270 electoral votes he needs to win re-election in November.
"What I'm trying to remind people about my husband is that when it comes to the people he meets, Barack has a memory like a steel trap," Michelle Obama said.
"He might not remember your name, but if he has had just a few minutes and a decent conversation with you, he will never forget your story. It becomes imprinted on his heart.
"That is what he carries with him every single day. It is our collection of struggles and hopes and dreams and that is where your President gets his passion. That is where your President gets his toughness and his fight."