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Former President Bill Clinton praised fellow Democrat President Barack Obama as having the right policies to lead America out of a deep recession, while attacking Republican Mitt Romney for a plan he said consists of cutting taxes for the wealthy, in a speech today to a crowd of 1,950 at Owens Community College.
Mr. Clinton blasted the Romney campaign's recent round of auto industry ads as untrue, his trademark raspy voice even more raspy from his heavy speaking schedule.
"Now they say Jeep is moving jobs to China thanks to Obama. When Karl Rove is putting that secret money in here, that's the kind of thing they think they can sell," Mr. Clinton said. He said Jeep "went ballistic" over Mr. Romney's initial statement, which was that Jeep was considering moving all of its production to China.
"You know what the Romney people did when Jeep [corrected] them they upped their money on the false ad - that should be all you need to know," Mr. Clinton said.
The Romney campaign has stuck by its ads as accurate, citing a report in Bloomberg and Chrysler's acknowledgement that they plan to build Jeeps in China that will be sold in China, even while the company expands production in Toledo with 1,100 new jobs expected early in 2013.
Mr. Clinton was putting in a long day in support of Mr. Obama, starting with a rally in Wisconsin in the morning with rallies planned for later in the day in Akron and Chillicothe.
He mistakenly addressed his audience as "Pennsylvania," but was corrected by the crowd. The verbal misstep prompted him to enlarge on Ohio's role as representative of the country.
"Ohio has the best distribution of mid-sized cities in the country. Ohio is growing ever more diverse, like America. Ohio has a lot of small towns and rural areas. It really is a microcosm of where we've been, where we are, where we're going," Mr. Clinton said.
The former president, who served from 1993 to 2001, ranged widely over policy issues, both to support Mr. Obama and to undercut Mr. Romney. He said no president could have been expected to fully heal the economy, but Mr. Obama is doing it faster than "the competition," referring to Europe. He backed Mr. Obama's plans for cutting the deficit by $2.5 million for every $1 million in additional revenue, and said it makes sense to invest in research and development of the solar and wind energy industries because of America's wealth of sun and wind, industries that he said already employ 25,000 people.
He said the Obama plan is to "invest in the jobs of tomorrow, work with the private sector that are growing new jobs, and educate and empower the American people to do those jobs."
The Romney plan, he said, is to cut taxes on the wealthiest Americans, cut investments in renewable energy and education, and repeal Obamacare. "It's more important to give me another tax cut than to help millions and millions and millions of people. Now if you want that you can vote for it, but don't pretend you're not voting for it if you vote for Mitt Romney," Mr. Clinton said.
“President Obama can’t run from the facts," said Chris Maloney, Romney for President spokesman. "As a result of his handling of the auto bailout, American taxpayers stand to lose $25 billion and GM and Chrysler are expanding their production overseas. Unlike President Obama, Mitt Romney has a comprehensive plan to revive manufacturing, create millions of good-paying jobs, and deliver real change and a real recovery. The criticism proves that partisan allies are not interested in engaging in a meaningful conversation about the Obama Administration's failed record during the last week of the campaign.”
Mr. Clinton told college students in the crowd that Mr. Obama's plan is to allow students to repay their college loans based on their income, which means "that nobody will ever have to drop out again because of the cost of education." He said graduates will be able to afford to give a couple of years to teach in an inner-city school or work in an inner-city clinic and still repay their college loans.
"What you have to pay will be determined by what you earn, not the other way around," Mr. Clinton said.
Mr. Clinton credited Mr. Obama with beginning to reduce the rising cost of health care, and of having "a great national security team - including the secretary of state," referring to his wife, Hillary Clinton.
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