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Obama hones populist message in Nevada: 'I've got the scars to prove it'

Charles Dharapak / AP

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney campaigns at the Pensacola Civic Center in Pensacola, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Jewel Samad / AFP - Getty Images

President Barack Obama speaks during a campaign rally at the Cheyenne Sports Complex in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Thursday.



LAS VEGAS, Nev. – At his second of three events Thursday, President Obama honed his closing arguments, painting himself as a populist fighter for those who send him to the White House a second time.

His speech was lighter on direct jabs to his opponent Mitt Romney, as was his earlier address in Green Bay, Wis., although he once again ridiculed Romney’s self-characterization as an agent of change.

“My opponent can talk about change, but I know what real change looks like because I've fought for it. I've got the scars to prove it. You have too,” Obama told the 4,500 supporters gathered in a field at the Cheyenne Sports Complex.

The imagery of a fighter struggling against the status quo punctuated Obama’s entire speech.

“Our fight goes on because we know this nation can't succeed without a growing, thriving middle class and strong, sturdy ladders into the middle class. Our fight goes on because America's always been at its best when everybody gets a fair shot and everybody's doing their fair share and everybody's playing by the same rules,” he said.

He later said that he’s “not ready to give up on the fight just yet.”

And as he did in Green Bay, he listed the types of people for whom he wants to be a “champion” in Washington, saying that “the folks at the very top in this country” don’t need such a hero.

“The laid-off furniture worker who's retraining at the age of 55 after they got laid off – yeah, she needs a champion. The small restaurant owner who needs a loan to expand after the bank turned him down, he needs a champion. The cooks and waiters and cleaning staff working overtime at a Vegas hotel trying to save enough to buy a first home or send their kid to college, they need a champion.”

Obama visited some of those who fall into the last group last week, surprising hotel workers at the Bellagio casino and resort after a fundraising event with President Bill Clinton.

After his event in Nevada, the president was headed to Boulder, Colorado for his last rally of the day.

Reuters, Getty Images

In the final push in the 2012 presidential election, candidates Mitt Romney and Barack Obama make their last appeals to voters.