DAYTON — Fresh from his foreign policy debate the night before, President 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 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,” Mr. Obama said at Triangle Park. “You heard him last night. He was all over the map.”
He accused Mr. Romney of flipping on keeping troops in Iraq, pursuing Osama bin Laden, and recruiting math and science teachers as the President 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 of the auto industry.
“Last night, Governor Romney looked you right in the eye, looked me in the eye, tried to pretend that he never said ‘Let Detroit go bankrupt,’ tried to pretend that he meant the same thing I did when we intervened and worked to make sure that management and workers got together to save the U.S. auto industry, pretended like somehow I had taken his advice,” Mr. Obama said. “But people don’t forget.”
He listed a series of his own job-creation proposals that included using savings from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to fuel infrastructure and school construction in the United States, 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.
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 re-election,” 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 cast absentee ballots or requested one.
Ohioans 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 today 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 tonight in preparation for a local campaign stop Thursday morning at Jet Machine and then later in the day at Worthington Industries in Columbus. That will be followed Thursday night by a rally and concert at Defiance High School’s football stadium.
Mr. Obama will be back in Cleveland Thursday night, closing out a two-day tour of battleground states that will take him to Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, Florida, and Virginia.
Carole Oswein of Louisville made the more than three-hour trip to Columbus with her daughter, Kelly Campbell, knowing they aren’t likely to see Mr. Obama in her home state, already largely written off as being in the Romney column.
“This is the closest he’s going to get to Kentucky,” Ms. Oswein said. “We’re on our way to Chicago for Election Day to be there in Grant Park when he makes his acceptance speech.”
She voted twice for Republican President Ronald Reagan but has voted for Democratic presidents ever since.
“The right has gone more radical,” she said. “They’re trying to appeal to the base, the Tea Party, and it’s just not working. We have the [Senate] minority leader, who is from Kentucky, whose main objective is to have this President a one-term president.”
Contact Jim Provance at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 614-221-0496.