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Villaraigosa fires up fellow Democrats at Iowa fundraising dinner

October 20, 2012 |  5:25 pm

This post has been corrected. See note below.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa urged fellow Democrats on Saturday to make sure the country keeps “moving forward in the right direction” by returning President Obama to the White House.

Delivering the keynote speech at the traditional Jefferson Jackson fundraising dinner in Des Moines, Villaraigosa told attendees that a win by Mitt Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, would turn back the clock on numerous successes achieved during Obama’s years in office.

The Republican duo would take the country down “a path of less fairness … less security,” Villaraigosa said. They “believe in divide and conquer. They believe there are only makers and takers.”

The mayor lauded what he called Obama’s accomplishments, highlighting the passage of legislation to remedy pay discrimination against women, the healthcare overhaul, the end of the war in Iraq, rescuing auto companies and getting the unemployment rate down to its lowest point since the president took office.

He also praised Obama’s efforts to stop the deportation of undocumented youth who were brought to the United States by their parents and have known no other country.

“Thanks to the president, they no longer live in fear’s shadow,” Villaraigosa said. “They no longer have to defer their dreams.”

The mayor lambasted Republicans for becoming what he called “more extreme, more unyielding” and for opposing “almost every common-sense policy or program” proposed by Democrats.

“Between the Tea Partiers, the climate change deniers, the birthers and the flat earthers, I hardly recognize the Republican Party anymore,” Villaraigosa said. “Republicans used to stand for something. Now they just stand in the way.”

With less than three weeks left before election day, Villaraigosa urged Democratic Party faithfuls  to stay the course.

“I feel good,” the mayor said. “I’m fired up. I’m ready to go.”

[For the record, 7:10 p.m.: The Times' received a copy of the mayor's speech prior to his Des Moines appearance and prematurely posted its contents at 5:25 p.m. The mayor did not give his speech until 7 p.m. PST.] 


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