BOWLING GREEN — President Obama fired up thousands of college students at Bowling Green State University today with promises to build on the progress he’s made bringing back jobs to the country while blasting Mitt Romney’s plan to help the wealthy.
“I want to export more products and outsource fewer jobs,” President Obama said to more than 5,500 people at BGSU’s Stroh Center. “When my opponent said we should just let Detroit go bankrupt that would have meant walking away from an industry that supports 1 in 8 Ohio jobs.”
President Obama left northwest Ohio on Air Force One shortly before 3 p.m.
The president peppered in college student friendly promises throughout his remarks inside the campus arena. At the same time, he painted Mr. Romney as bad for their generation.
“My opponent would gut education to pay for more tax cuts for the wealthy,” he said drawing big cheers.
He also blasted Mr. Romney for paying a lower tax rate than working Americans like auto workers who make $50,000.
“I am not going to ask the students here to pay more for college or kick some kids off of Head Start,” to pay for a tax cut for the wealthy, the president promised.
The president started his speech with an early pitch to get college students out to vote early - which in Ohio starts in six days.
“This is important because you have a big choice to make,” President Obama said.
Rachel Bowman, Obama for American-Ohio field organizer, drew cheers when she told the crowd that President Obama stopped the doubling of student loan interest rates and supported the Pell Grant.
“We need to win Wood County, win Ohio, and win this election for President Obama,” Ms. Bowman said.
The crowd chanted “four more years!” in between speakers before the President arrived.
President Obama has traveled to Ohio 29 times since the start of his presidency, including this trip. In 2012, he has now traveled to Ohio 13 times.
“In Ohio, the President’s middle-class tax cuts are already having an impact on millions of families,” said a statement from the Obama camp sent out before the speech. “President Obama has already cut taxes for a typical Ohio family by $3,500 over four years, helping families afford to send their children to college, buy their first home, pay for health care and child care. The Making Work Pay Tax Credit allowed an estimated 4.5 million working Ohio families to receive a collective $2.2 billion in tax relief in 2010. The payroll tax credit provided an estimated 5.7 million Ohio workers $3.6 billion in tax relief in 2011.”
The campaign acknowledged Ohio’s new jobs since the president took office.
“Since March, 2010 when the recovery took hold, 182,800 jobs have been created in Ohio including 50,300 manufacturing jobs added during that time,” the Obama statement said. “In the six months before President Obama’s first full month in office, Ohio lost 68,500 manufacturing jobs. During the recovery, Ohio’s unemployment rate has dropped by 3.3 percentage points, and is now 1.4 percentage points lower than when President Obama came into office.”
It also said Wood County gained more than 2,600 jobs in the last three years and the unemployment rate in Wood County has dropped by 5 points in the last three years from 12.3 percent to 7.3 percent.
Romney Spokesman Chris Maloney blasted the president before the speech began.
“The verdict is in on President Obama’s failed economic policies – they’re not working for job creators around the nation,” he said.
“For nearly four years, job creators have struggled in the Obama economy. Business leaders have the gloomiest outlook in three years and the President’s failed economic policies of higher taxes and more regulations will only make things worse,” he said. “Mitt Romney understands what it takes to start and grow a business – and, as president, will implement pro-growth policies to create 12 million new jobs and get small-business owners back on their feet.”
The president also again raised the issue of China trade and accused Mr. Romney of actually profiting from shipping jobs to China.
"He's been talking tough on China," Mr. Obama said. "It's like that fox saying, 'you know we need more secure chicken coops' ... It's just not credible," he added.
BGSU was the first of two college stops for the president today. He is scheduled to speak later at Kent State University.
Thousands of people lined up for hours waiting to hear President Obama at BGSU.
Kendra Stabler, a University of Toledo senior majoring in education, waited in line for about two hours to see the president.
“I am hoping to hear what he will do for us as young people,” Ms. Stabler, 21, said. “I want to make sure I have funding for my fifth and final year of school and for graduate school after. I feel like the Romney plan is false hope and Obama’s plan is more relevant to the middle class while Romney is more for the wealthy.”
Just after he arrived in northwest Ohio, President Barack Obama greeted Toledoan Truda Kynard at National Flight Service today as she was holding a sign “Son in Afghanistan.”
The president walked off of Air Force One and shook hands with local officials and parents like Ms. Kynard, who has two sons in the military. The president then presented Ms. Kynard with two coins with Presidential seals and thanked her family for the service.
“It was just wonderful. It was just the idea he cared,” she said after meeting the president.
Blade staff writer David Patch contributed to this report.