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HILLIARD, Ohio-- Returning to the campaign trail from monitoring the emergency hurricane response, President Obama today launched a four-day Ohio re-election blitz here by accusing Republican nominee Mitt Romney of massaging facts to "scare up some votes."
And the Obama campaign announced today that Democratic Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, will campaign Sunday in Fremont, with pop singer Jason Mraz.
Speaking inside a chilly, dirt-floored livestock exhibition hall in the Franklin County Fairgrounds to a crowd of 2,800, Mr. Obama hailed the October jobs report out today as positive news. The news showed an uptick in unemployment to 7.9 percent, but with 171,000 jobs created during the month.
"This morning we learned companies hired more workers in October than at any time in the last eight months," Mr. Obama said.
He said he was inspired by heroism shown in the response to the hurricane, as well as "the leaders of different parties working together to fix what's broken," which the crowd clearly recognized as a reference to the show of mutual admiration between the President and Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has endorsed Mr. Romney for president.
Mr. Obama canceled a Youngstown campaign trip on Monday to focus on the effects of Hurricane Sandy and is making his first return to Ohio today.
Former Massachusetts Governor Romney is also in Ohio today, with a rally at Screen Machine Industries near Columbus followed by a large event at West Chester, near Cincinnati.
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Mr. Obama said Mr. Romney was misleading voters in Ohio into thinking that Chrysler and General Motors are planning to shift car production to China, a claim that both companies have denied.
"Trying to massage the facts, that's not change, that's just ..." Mr. Obama, leaving the last word unsaid for the crowd to finish. "We've been seeing this out of Governor Romney and his friends the last few weeks, right here in Ohio. You've got friends at the Jeep plant who've been calling their employers worried that their jobs are being shipped to China. Governor Romney's been running an ad saying so. It's not true. Everybody knows it's not true.
"You don't scare hard-working Americans just to scare up some votes," he said.
He recalled what he said was his goal to change the politics in Washington that he said have been turned into dysfunction by special interests opposed to reforming health care and Wall Street.
"What they're counting on now is you're going to be so worn down by all the squabble, all the dysfunction, that you'll just give up and walk away. Their bet is on cynicism. My bet is on you. My fight is for you," he said.
Mr. Obama was to campaign next in Springfield, immediately following Hilliard, and then at Lima Senior High School at 3:20 p.m.
Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland introduced Mr. Obama with a summary of the President's record. His voice cracking on almost every word from campaigning, Mr. Strickland lampooned GOP running mate Paul Ryan for showing up to wash pots in a Youngstown soup kitchen that had already been cleaned and Mr. Romney for buying $5,000 worth of food at a Wal-Mart so he could be seen loading a truck with provisions for the victims of Hurricane Sandy, as Mr. Strickland put it.
"They don't even know how to fake compassion. Ohio will be the fire wall for President Barack Obama," Mr. Strickland said.
Polls have shown the race close in Ohio, an important swing state with 18 electoral votes. No president has been elected without carrying Ohio since John F. Kennedy, a Democrat, in 1960, and no Republican has ever made it to the White House without carrying Ohio.
After his three-city swing today, Mr. Obama will return Saturday morning for a rally in Mentor, will appear with Stevie Wonder in Cincinnati Sunday night, and with Bruce Springsteen and Jay Z in Columbus on Monday.
Mr. Romney will rally Sunday evening in Cleveland with country musician Rodney Atkins and on Monday at Port Columbus International Airport with the Marshall Tucker Band. Mr. Ryan is to campaign Saturday morning at Marietta College.
Tickets are available for the the Bidens' Fremont rally at campaign field offices in Fremont, Port Clinton, and Tiffin, today until 9 p.m. today and on Saturday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., while they last, the campaign said. The offices are 225 E. State St., Fremont; 131-A Maple St., Port Clinton, and 112. S Washington St., Tiffin.
Later Mr. Obama rallied with an estimated, enthusiastic crowd of 4,000 in the athletic center of Springfield High School, part of his campaign's effort to blunt support for Mr. Romney coming out of rural and suburban Ohio. Clark County went to John McCain in a tight race in 2008.
A bus waited outside to deliver registered voters to the county early voting center.
“We're on the move, Ohio,'' Mr. Obama said. “We've made real progress these last four years, but the reason all of you are here today, the reason I'm here today, is we know there's more work to do. As long as there's a single American who wants a job and can't find one, our job's not done...
“The fight goes on,'' he said. “We are not finished yet. We've got more work to do.”
He pointed to the storm that just ravaged East Coast states, holding out the bipartisan cooperation in the aftermath as an example for bipartisanship that can happen in Washington.
“When I make those commitments, I make them not just as president, but I make those commitments on behalf of the American people,'' he said. “During these kinds of crises, these disasters, as tough as it is, as sad as it is, it is inspiring...”
In the crowd at Springfield was city resident Wali Shamsid-Deen, who said he believes Mr. Obama deserves four more years to complete the recovery from the “big trouble” he inherited. He said he doesn't believe the partisan gridlock of the last four years will continue into a second term.
“Right now with the world in growing turmoil and uncertainty, I think they'll have no choice but to back him,'' he said. “If we're going to reposition ourselves as world leaders and get the respect of countries all over the world, they'll have no choice but to back him.”
With a big smile, he expressed pride that Ohio, as the electoral maps seem to suggest, could pick the president Tuesday.
“All transportation and everything goes through Ohio, why not the president?'' he asked. “Whoever is going to be the president should have to go through Ohio.”
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