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President Barack Obama spoke to a crowd of about 14,000 people on College Green Wednesday. (Katharine Egli | Picture Editor)

'You can choose the other guy, or you can choose to help us move forward'

After vying to speak over Mitt Romney and Candy Crowley Tuesday night, President Barack Obama got the chance to speak uninterrupted in Athens Wednesday evening.

Obama took the stage in front of about 14,000 students, faculty and area residents in a packed College Green at about 6:10 p.m. and spoke for about 30 minutes.

“I came here today because I hear you've got a pretty good football team,” Obama said.

After jokes about promises kept about football playoffs and the crowd’s good looks, the president got down to business.

“I came here today, Ohio, because I want your vote. I’m not too proud to beg,” Obama said. “You’ve got to go back to your dorm and grab that guy eating chips and watching SportsCenter and tell him to go out and vote.”

Obama then spoke about his debate against Republican challenger Mitt Romney Tuesday night.

When the crowd began booing at the mention of Romney, Obama quickly interrupted and said, “Wait, don’t boo; vote!”

The issue of campaign promises came up last night, Obama said, and he went through a lengthy list of promises he's kept, including ending the War in Iraq, killing Osama Bin Laden, achieving health care reform, ending ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and improving job prospects and the economy.

Obama criticized Romney’s five-point plan saying, “You've heard of the 'New Deal.' Mitt Romney is trying to sell you a ‘sketchy deal.’”

Student issues were also in the spotlight and Obama said he has worked to increase Pell Grants and limits on the interest rates of student loans, improvements he said help everyone get a college education.

“It should be a national mission to make sure our young people are getting an education where we know they are going to get jobs,” he said.

The topic then turned to social issues surrounding women’s education, rights, job prospects and equal pay.

Monday’s next presidential debate will focus on foreign policy and Obama criticized Romney being unsupportive of ending the War in Iraq, despite it being funded “on a credit card.”

“It’s time to do some nation building here at home,” Obama said. Loud cheers followed.

The president then returned to the economy and contrasted his policies with the “top-down” policies of his opponent.

By building the middle class with education and fair taxation, everyone will benefit, Obama said.

The whole country prospers because of entitlements such as the G.I. Bill and Pell Grants, Obama said. “You can choose the other guy, or you can help us move forward with the policies that are getting us out of this mess."

Obama ended his speech with a call for votes.

"If you're willing to make some phone calls and knock on some doors, we'll win Ohio again. … Thank you, Ohio. I love you."


Read our tweets from the event here:


Here's our pre-Obama slideshow:

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