Thursday, 14 June 2012

0 Obama and Romney stub in Ohio

In a set of dueling speeches Thursday in Ohio, President Obama and Mitt Romney highlighted the state's ongoing role as a political kingmakerand center of this year's election fight over the condition of the economy.

Romney opened up in Cincinnati, telling a crowd inside an equipment manufacturer that Obama's economic policies have made it harder for businesses to hire and made the economy worse. The president, Romney said at Seilkop Industries, was "going to be delivering a speech on the economy … because he hasn't delivered a recovery for the economy."

Obama and Romney stub in Ohio

"He's going to be a person of eloquence as he describes his plans for making the economy better, but don't forget, he's been president for 3½ years," Romney said. "And talk is cheap."

In Cleveland, Obama used his 54-minute speech to cast the upcoming presidential election as a choice between his defense of the middle class and Romney's plans to put the wealthy and businesses first.

"In this election, you have two very different visions to choose from," Obama told about 1,500 supporters at Cuyahoga Community College.

"This isn't some abstract debate. This isn't another trivial Washington argument," Obama said. "This is a make-or-break moment for our middle class."

Obama's re-election campaign chose Cleveland for the speech because Ohio has benefited from administration policies, such as the bailout of the Big Three automakers.

Obama visited Ohio for official policy in his first 2½ years in office more than any place other than the Washington, D.C., area. He also added numerous trips there in 2010 to campaign for then-governor Ted Strickland, a Democrat who lost to Republican John Kasich.

Obama and Romney poll neck and neck in Ohio, where the unemployment rate was 7.4% in April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Both campaigns, as well as PACs and interest groups that support them, have flooded the airwaves in the Buckeye State. Of the $11.3 million spent nationwide the week of May 28-June 3, more than $2 million was in Ohio media markets, according to data from The Washington Post and Campaign Media Analysis Group.

Republicans conducted a conference call Wednesday afternoon to criticize Obama's policies and launched a TV ad Thursday morning that targeted Obama's comment last week that the private sector was "doing fine" in comparison to state and local governments.

Obama fired back at the criticism during his speech and acknowledged a series of frequent GOP attacks on his presidency.

"The other side will spend over a billion dollars on ads that tell you the economy is bad, that it's all my fault … because I think everything and everybody is doing just fine," he said. "Well, you know, that may be their plan to win the election, but it's not a plan to create jobs."

Although the candidates did not cross paths, the relatively close proximity of the speeches gave way to mischief on the part of the Romney campaign.

In the hours before the president's speech, a Romney campaign bus was seen circling the venue and honking at Obama supporters as they waited in line to hear the president speak.



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