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Obama fires up Wisconsin crowd with help from Katy Perry

President Barack Obamgestures after speaking campaign event Saturday Nov. 3 2012 Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

President Barack Obama gestures after speaking at a campaign event Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

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Updated: December 5, 2012 6:51AM

MILWAUKEE — With help from pop sensation Katy Perry, President Barack Obama drew 20,000 people Saturday as he trumpeted his accomplishments in office and urged people not only to vote, but to volunteer in the closing days before the election.

“It’s good to be so close to home!” he shouted to roars inside the Delta Center in downtown Milwaukee.

“Wisconsin, after four years as president, you know me,” Obama said. “Wisconsin, you know what I believe. You know I mean what I say and I say what I mean.”

He told the crowd that he came through on his promises, including ending “don’t ask, don’t tell”; pulling troops out of Iraq, and killing Osama bin Laden.

He acknowledged there remained work to do.

“Our fight goes on because this nation cannot succeed without a growing, thriving middle class,” Obama said. “Our fight goes on because America has always done best when everybody has got a fair shot, everybody is doing their fair share, everybody is playing by the same rules. That’s what we believe. That’s why you elected me in 2008. That’s why I’m running for a second term as president of the United States.”

It was one of four campaign stops Saturday. He also visited Mentor, Ohio; Dubuque, Iowa, and Bristow, Va.

He and his GOP challenger, Mitt Romney, were crisscrossed into swing states as they headed for the Election Day finish line.

In Richmond, Va., on Saturday, Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, said Americans have suffered under failed leadership and broken promises over the last four years.

“Remember when he said he would cut the deficit in half? It has doubled,” Ryan said. “Remember when he said he would create all of these jobs? Look, we just got the latest employment report. And the unemployment rate is higher than the day he took office.”

For Obama, Milwaukee was the closest he’ll get to his home base of Chicago before Tuesday, when he plans to be posted at McCormick Place. On Monday, Obama will return to Wisconsin, this time with a boost from rock legend Bruce Springsteen, who’s expected to draw tens of thousands of people to a street concert.

Earlier Saturday, the electricity was palpable as thousands of people wound around Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Milwaukee awaiting Obama’s arrival and hoping to get into a free Katy Perry concert.

Perry didn’t disappoint, performing first in a red, white and blue ruffled gown that was stripped off to reveal a skin-tight blue dress emblazoned with Obama’s campaign slogan, “Forward.”

Perry urged the crowd to vote and promised that if fans Tweeted a photo of themselves in an interesting outfit on Election Day, she would re-Tweet it.

Kamila Krupiarz and her best friend, Mariyum Abba, both 19 and from the Chicago suburbs, were asked why they traveled to Milwaukee on Saturday.

“Katy Perry!” Krupiarz exclaimed.

“And Obama,” she added, laughing.

This is the first year they can vote, and they were blown away when they scored free tickets to see both Obama and Perry.

Also lucky enough to get a ticket was Kerstin Mendel, 35, of Milwaukee, who is originally from Germany. Mendel, who has lived in several European countries, said Mitt Romney “scares me.”

If Obama were campaigning in Europe, he would be considered at least a moderate, she said. “The liberals in Europe are way left to where Obama is,” Mendel said.

Anthony Jones, 37, said this was his first chance to see Obama. He said he supports Obama because he considers him to be strong on education. Obama established “Race to the Top” to boost performance in schools and has pushed for Pell Grants to help lower-income students go to college.

Jones said he was laid off from his job in 2008 but was hired back because he had college experience.

“We’ve hired 150 more employees at my company,” since Obama took office, he said.

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