Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney greet President Obama as he arrives at Scott High School.
The Blade/Dave Zapotosky
With a hero’s welcome today at Scott High School, President Obama warmed up for his party’s convention in Charlotte with a campaign stop he used to bash the GOP meeting in Tampa and Mitt Romney’s plan to create jobs.
“I have one piece of advice for the Romney-Ryan game plan for you Ohio — punt it away ... you don’t need that coach. That’s a losing season,” President Obama said, mocking Mr. Romney’s use of sports analogies during a Saturday stop in Cincinnati.
The President left on Air Force One at 2:55 p.m. from Toledo Express Airport en route to Louisiana.
During a 30-minuted speech, the President said Mr. Romney’s “economic playbook” sounds like “unnecessary roughness” because it will cost the middle class more and cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans.
The Republican National Convention gave Americans nothing new, he said.
“We saw three straight days of an agenda out of the last century,” President Obama said. “You might have have watched it on black and white TV. It should have been on Nick at Nite.”
He praised working people and unions on Labor Day who laid the “cornerstones of middle class security,” things like the five-day work week, health care, and social security.
PHOTO GALLERY: Obama visits diner, speaks at Scott High
He said Republican efforts to destroy unions is the wrong philosophy. The promised a plan from his convention Charlotte that will help grow the middle class.
President Obama was introduced to thunderous applause by Kenyetta Jones, 48, a 27-year employee of General Motors Powertrain.
Ms. Jones had the crowd on her side quickly and told about her worries after being laid off three and half years ago, but of her confidence in President Obama.
“I remember that day so vividly,” Ms. Jones, of Toledo, said. “Times were really tough. We rallied around one another. A job is more than a paycheck. It’s about our dignity and independence.”
She said she began retraining and was confident the jobs would return.
“Because he bet on the American worker and rescued the auto industry I got my job back,” Ms. Jones said.
The President thanked her for the introduction, a tradition in all of his rallies.
“I’ve got to say thank you to Kenyetta for that outstanding introduction. I was listening backstage, and I thought I heard a little preaching going on,” Mr. Obama said, before launching into his prepared remarks. “Kenyetta can talk, no doubt about it.”
Ms. Jones is the mother of two college-age daughters and she works as a benefits representative and quality inspector.
U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo), helped warm up the crowd and thanked the president for visiting Toledo on Labor Day. She mentioned the significance of choosing Scott High School as the venue.
“Thank you Mr. President for coming to the heart of labor in the United States of America.,” Miss Kaptur said. “Toledo and the voters of our region invested in this high school —Scott High School, a public high school. In 1990, Rosa Parks spoke in this room and in 1967 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke here too.”
Senator Sherrod Brown this morning said the Republican attacks on President Obama are unfounded.
“Go back four years ago. Go to the Jeep plant, go to the transmission plant, go to Defiance to the engine plant, go to Perrysburg, go to Northwood, go to Johnson Controls ... go to any of these companies, the workers were afraid the plants were going to get shut down,” Mr. Brown said before taking the stage.
“We now have the Chevy Cruze made in Ohio with thousands of workers in [northeast] Ohio ... We know what is happening with the job market here. It is not as good as we want. We had unemployment of over 10.5 percent a couple of years ago. Now it is under 7.5. It isn’t good enough but we are making progress.”
Mr. Brown was the first to address the standing room only crowd in Scott’s gymnasium.
“You are going to hear people like the vice presidential candidate have a little trouble with the truth, you are going to hear actors who talk to chairs,” he said referring to Paul Ryan and Clint Eastwood.
Seven people holding pro-Romney and anti-Obama signs protested across from Scott in Jack Freeh Plaza. Martin Braun, a construction engineer, of Maumee, said President Obama hasn’t done a good job the past four years.
“It is the state of the economy, the liberal government policies, Obamacare, in appropriate bailout so he doesn’t share my views,” Mr. Braun said.
UAW President Bob King thanked the crowd for repealing Senate Bill 5 in Ohio — drawing huge applause. He implored people to convince people to support President Obama.
“When we do better everybody does better,” Mr. King said of union contracts.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said Mitt Romney and Republicans are out-of-touch with the needs of working people.
“Just tell the truth about Mitt Romney and we will be alright. It is a time we took a stance against intolerance and for American values.”
Before he arrived at Scott, President Obama motorcade arrived at Rick’s City Diner in West Toledo, where he was welcomed by people who were eating breakfast at the restaurant.
President Obama had breakfast at the diner with three auto workers: Heather Finfrock, Daniel Schlieman, and James Fayson.
The auto workers are all members of the UAW.