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Published: Tuesday, 8/28/2012

Obama plans Labor Day visits to Toledo, Cleveland

Security concerns likely to rule out parade march

BY JIM PROVANCE AND IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITERS
President Barack Obama speaks during an interview. President Barack Obama speaks during an interview.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge

Ohio's streak of having either President Obama or Vice President Joe Biden on its soil every Labor Day of their administration will remain intact when the President visits the Toledo area on Monday.

Mr. Obama is also expected to visit the Cleveland area that day. Three days later, at Bank of America Stadium during the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. he will accept his party's nomination for a second term.

Details on the President's itinerary have not been announced.

Retired postal employee John Boellner, chairman of Toledo's Labor Day Parade, said he doubts Mr. Obama will march in the parade as Mr. Biden did. Security would be problematic, he said.

"They would have to have so many people on each rooftop," Mr. Boellner said. "When Joe Biden was here two years ago it was double the number of people watching the parade."

Most Ohio delegates will have arrived in Charlotte when Mr. Obama is in their home state. The convention officially opens the next day.

On Labor Day in 2009, the first of his administration, Mr. Obama spoke at an AFL-CIO picnic in Cincinnati, the same event where Mr. Biden would speak two years later. In between, Mr. Biden marched in Toledo's Labor Day Parade in 2010.

In the presidential election year of 2008, Mr. Obama was in Toledo the day before Labor Day, ceding the holiday that year to his Republican opponent, U.S. Sen. John McCain.

Mr. Obama's latest visit to northern Ohio, where the auto industry is retooling and expanding and adding jobs could provide a backdrop for him to counter newly crowned Republican nominee Mitt Romney's case to America that the President's promises of hope and change haven't worked out.

"Of course, I believe that most people would agree that if Mitt Romney loses Ohio, he will not be elected president," former Gov. Ted Strickland said. "It makes Ohio important to both campaigns. I think the President has the best message when it comes to Ohio in this campaign, in large part, because of his intervention in saving the auto industry and Mitt Romney's continued efforts to downplay it as significant and Paul Ryan's rather recent attempt to imply that it has been a failure. I don't understand how he can come to Ohio communities like Toledo or Youngstown or Cleveland or Parma or Elyria or Lorain and talk convincingly about wanting to create jobs with their position on the auto industry rescue."

Romney spokesman Chris Maloney said the President has failed to keep his promises to working families.

"His frequent campaign trips to Ohio have failed to mask his dismal record of cutting $700 billion from Medicare, gutting work requirements in welfare, and failing to create jobs for the 417,000 Ohioans struggling to find work," he said

Toledo Councilman Joe McNamara, a Democrat, said he is thrilled the President will be in the city.

"I think it is wonderful," he said. "I think the President's policies have directly helped the city of Toledo and workers in Ohio. I am glad we're going to see him. If there is one difference between the two candidates that cannot be overemphasized, it is the approach to the auto industry which creates jobs for Toledoans."

U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo), said she was happy to hear of the President's return.

"We warmly welcome the President back to Toledo and Lucas County, a region his administration is trying so hard to help recover economically," she said.

Contact Jim Provance at: jprovance@theblade.com or 614-221-0496.



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