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DAYTON — Fresh from his foreign policy debate the night before, President Barack Obama told 9,500 supporters rallying in a city park Tuesday that his Republican opponent Mitt Romney is switching positions in the waning days before the election.
“Trust matters,” the Democratic president said. “You want the person who’s applying to be President and commander-in-chief to be trustworthy, that he means what he says, that he’s not making stuff up depending on whether it’s convenient or not.”
He was joined on the stage by Vice President Joe Biden for the first time this year on the campaign trail. Earlier in the day, Mr. Biden appeared solo at the University of Toledo.
“Unfortunately, Governor Romney’s foreign policy is wrong and reckless,” he said. “You heard him last night. He was all over the map.”
Mr. Obama accused Mr. Romney of flipping on keeping troops in Iraq, pursuing Osama bid Laden, and recruiting math and science teachers as he resurrected his diagnosis “Romnesia” for the former Massachusetts governor.
“There was a severe case breaking out last night,” he said. “So I want to go after the symptoms of it, because I sure don’t want anybody to catch it in Ohio.”
He also accused Mr. Romney of flipping on the taxpayer bailout out of the auto industry.
“Last night Governor Romney looked you right in the eye, looked me in the eye, trying to pretend that he never said, ‘Let Detroit go bankrupt’, trying to pretend he meant the same thing I did when we worked to make sure that management and workers worked together to save the U.S. auto industry, pretending like somehow I was taking his advice,” Mr. Obama said.
He listed a series of job-creation proposals that included using savings from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to fuel infrastructure and school construction in America, ending the tax loophole for shipping jobs overseas, cutting oil imports in half by 2020, improving education and job-training, recruiting 100,000 math and science teachers, and cutting the deficit by $4 trillion, in part of increasing taxes on wealthier Americans.
The repackaged proposals have been mentioned for months on the campaign trail.
“Instead of laying out a second term agenda or ideas for how we can stop the recent loss of Ohio manufacturing jobs, Barack Obama instead chose to resort to the same recycled failed ideas, tired distortions, and negative attacks which have come to define his campaign’s closing argument for reelection,” Romney spokesman Chris Maloney said. “The President finds himself losing ground in Ohio because voters are looking for leadership, not four more years of higher taxes and debt that have ground our recovery to a halt.”
Now that the final debate is history, the two-week stretch is under way with all four of the major players concentrating on a state that is largely considered a must-win on Nov. 6.
Ohioans have been voting since Oct. 2, and the number of voters still up for grabs shrinks by the day. Secretary of State Jon Husted said Tuesday that more than 1.6 million Ohioans, roughly 20 percent of 8 million registered voters, have already cast absentee ballots or requested one.
Voters may vote in person at designated county early voting sites this week between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. weekdays.
Mr. Biden will continue his three-day tour of Ohio on Wednesday in Marion, competing for attention with a Cleveland rally hosted by Mr. Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan.
Mr. Romney is expected to fly into Cincinnati Wednesday night in preparation for a local campaign stop Thursday morning at Jet Machine. That will be followed Thursday night by a rally and concert at Defiance High School’s football stadium with John Rich and Alabama’s Randy Owen and John Rich.
Mr. Obama will be back in Cleveland Thursday night, closing out a two-day tour of battleground states that will also take him to Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, Florida, and Virginia.