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Published: Wednesday, 9/26/2012 - Updated: 3 years ago

Strickland goes on offensive in Toledo

Ex-Ohio governor says GOP does not care for middle class

Former Ohio governor Ted Strickland speaks Tuesday during a rally at UAW Local 14, 5411 Jackman Road. Former Ohio governor Ted Strickland speaks Tuesday during a rally at UAW Local 14, 5411 Jackman Road.
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A Democratic bus tour dogging GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney for the “47 percent” comment he made at a dinner for wealthy donors in Florida swung through Toledo Tuesday in advance of Mr. Romney’s campaign stop today.

The Democratic National Committee initiated the campaign to counter the three-day Ohio bus tour Mr. Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, embarked upon on Monday.

The “Mitt Romney: Writing Off the Middle Class Tour” was greeted by about 50 people, mostly union members and Obama-Biden supporters, as it pulled into the front yard of the United Auto Workers Local 14 Hall on Jackman Road.

Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland led the attack on Mr. Romney, reminding the crowd of the videotaped speech in which he characterized the 47 percent of Americans who don’t pay income tax as “victims” who don’t take responsibility. Mr. Strickland said the statement made by the former Massachusetts governor applies to military veterans, students, and average working men and women.

“He looked down his nose at half of the American population,” he said. “Mitt Romney made millions, and he paid about 14.1 percent on his taxes. The average Ohioan pays more percentage wise than multimillionaire Mitt Romney.”

Mr. Strickland also attacked the GOP candidate for criticizing President Obama for taking aggressive action against China for unfair trade practices, a move that benefited workers at tire factories in Ohio.

“The President has done more to stand up against China than any former American president,” Mr. Strickland said.

In response to the former Ohio governor's statements, Christopher Maloney, Mr. Romney’s Ohio spokesman, said: “It’s not surprising that the Obama campaign would view someone who oversaw a loss of 400,000 Ohio jobs as a qualified economic surrogate for the President’s failed economic policies. Much like Ted Strickland, Barack Obama’s term has come to be defined by his own failure to fix the economy, change government, and live up to the promises he made to middle-class Ohio families.”

Brad Woodhouse, communications director for the Democratic National Committee, said Mr. Romney wrote off nearly half of the American people and showed that he cares little about people who don’t have Swiss bank accounts.

Also on the bus was Robert Greer, a union electrician at Findlay-based Cooper Tire. He said his company and Ohio are better off under Mr. Obama because of the President's support of the auto-industry bailout.

“We are lucky we do have a President who does get it,” he said.

Contact Mark Reiter at: markreiter@theblade.com or 419-724-6199.

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