President Barack Obama and Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney are in the middle of whirlwind tours throughout Ohio this weekend. Ohio Public Radio’s Karen Kasler and Jo Ingles caught up with both campaigns today in Central Ohio. First, here’s Jo’s report with President Obama.
About 2,800 people packed a building at the Franklin County Fairgrounds to hear President Obama. He said he’s delivered a lot of changes he’s promised: ended the war in Iraq, made the nation more energy independent, improved healthcare and helped students, poor and middle class Ohioans.
Obama: "We know what change looks like. And what the governor’s offering ain’t it. Giving more power back to the biggest banks? That’s not change. Another $5 trillion tax cut that favors the wealthy? That’s not change. Refusing to answer questions about the details of your policies until after the election? That’s not change, but we’ve seen that before. Ruling out compromise by promising to rubber-stamp the tea party’s agenda in congress -- that’s not change. And by the way, when you try to change the facts just because they are inconvenient to your campaign, that’s definitely not change."
He said the changes he’s made are starting to work. He says the new jobs report shows companies hired more employees in October than any time in the last eight months, home values are on the rise, and the American auto industry is thriving. And he said he’s made many of those changes without the help of Republicans in congress.
Obama: "They engineered a strategy of gridlock in congress, refusing to compromise on ideas that both Democrats and Republicans in the past have supported.What they are counting on now is that you are going to be so worn down by all of the squabble, so worn down by all the dysfunction, that you’ll just give up, walk away and put them back into power. In other words Ohio, their bet is on cynicism. My bet is on you. My fight is for you."
Obama urged the crowd to vote for him so he can continue to fight for the changes he’s started.
I’m Karen Kasler. Around 2,000 people packed into Screen Machine Industries along I-70 just east of Columbus. About half the crowd could barely see Mitt Romney as they stood off to the side of the stage behind the press. Romney blasted President Obama for his record, saying he hasn’t reached out to Republicans.
ROMNEY: “He promised that he’d have a post-partisan presidency. But it’s been the most partisan I’ve seen, with divisiveness and bitterness and division and demonization – hallmarks of his presidency.”
During his 20 minute speech, Romney talked up his five point plan on energy, trade, education and training programs, cutting federal spending and slashing regulations on small businesses – saying several times he be working on these issues from day one, while he said Obama is making new promises he can’t keep.
ROMNEY: “He says he’s going to keep us on the same path that we’re on. And one thing we know is that if we stay on this same path, $16 trillion in debt will become $20 trillion in debt. We know that high unemployment today will be high unemployment over the next four years. We recognize that take-home pay will continue to decline. We’ll see stagnant wage growth. We now that he will devastate the military. His secretary of defense said in fact the trillion-dollar cuts to the military -- those trillion dollars in cuts would devastate our military."
Throughout Romney’s speech, members of the crowd could be heard shouting – at each other, and at reporters and others they felt were interrupting the speech. Romney told the crowd that Ohio will probably decide the election, and said he is the candidate who represents real change.