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Obama greets AFA cadets, campaigns on latest Colorado swing

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President Obama delivered the commencement address at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Colorado Springs, Colorado. May 23, 2012.

President Obama delivered the commencement address at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Colorado Springs, Colorado. May 23, 2012.

COLORADO SPRINGS — President Barack Obama spent Wednesday congratulating cadets and rallying campaign supporters on another Colorado swing, his second visit to the crucial swing state in less than a month.

The president delivered the commencement address at the Air Force Academy here Wednesday morning, focusing his remarks on the national security successes that have taken place in the four years since the graduating class of 1,073 cadets began at the Academy — and the four years since he’s been in office.

“You step forward into a different world.  You are the first class in nine years that will graduate into a world where there are no Americans fighting in Iraq,” Obama told the cadets. 

“For the first time in your lives — and thanks to Air Force personnel who did their part — Osama bin Laden is no longer a threat to our country.  We’ve put al Qaeda on the path to defeat. And you are the first graduates since 9/11 who can clearly see how we’ll end the war in Afghanistan.”

Obama also implored the cadets to be part of a second “American Century”, laying out a vision for the future and emphasizing his belief — the very belief questioned earlier this month by Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman — in American exceptionalism.

“I see an American Century because of the character of our country — the spirit that has always made us exceptional,” Obama said.

WATCH PRESIDENT OBAMA’S ENTIRE SPEECH

“That simple yet revolutionary idea — there at our founding and in our hearts ever since — that we have it in our power to make the world anew, to make the future what we will.  It is that fundamental faith — that American optimism — which says no challenge is too great, no mission is too hard.”

Following the commencement ceremony, Obama flew aboard Air Force One north to Denver — Gov. John Hickenlooper and Rep. Jared Polis joined him on the flight — for a campaign fundraiser at the Hyatt Regency Convention Center attended by roughly 550 people, the campaign estimates.

During remarks that lasted just under 30 minutes, Obama sounded the main theme of his campaign — that the country is moving forward under his leadership.

“We still have work to do,” Obama said. “The last thing we can afford to do as we’re starting to make progress is to go back to the policies that got us here in the first place.

“We have to move forward to the future we imagined in 2008.”

The president is scheduled to departing from Buckley Air Force Base late Wednesday afternoon and head to northern California, where he’s set to hold two more fundraisers before the night is over.

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