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LIMA, Ohio -- Fighting a worsening hoarseness, President Barack Obama wrapped up a campaign swing here in Lima Senior High School today promising to fight for the people, and against special interests that he said want to keep them from having power.
"What they're counting on now is that you’re going to be so fed up, so worn down with all the squabbling in Washington, so tired of all the dysfunction, that you’ll just give up, just walk away, and leave them to keep all the power," Mr. Obama said to a wildly cheering crowd of 3,800 people in the gym and in an overflow space. "They’re betting on cynicism. Ohio, I’m betting on you."
The President's voice was slightly hoarser than normal, the result of a tough schedule of stump speeches, including the first speech of the day in an unheated livestock exhibition barn in Hilliard, Ohio.
He blasted Mr. Romney's radio and TV ads saying General Motors and Chrysler, which were rescued in a 2009 bailout that Mr. Romney opposed, are dishonest, but that he is trying to portray himself as the candidate of change.
"Trying to change the facts when they're inconvenient to your political campaign, that's definitely not change."
He broke away from his prepared speech to acknowledge the high school marching band that was punctuating his remarks with drum rolls.
"Companies like GM and Chrysler, they put a lot of time and effort and money into building up their brand, and letting Americans know that the American auto industry is back, and we don't want suddenly a bunch of ads saying stuff that's not true. You don't scare hard-working Americans just to scare up some votes," he said. "That's not what being President is all about."
"One of the things you're choosing is about an issue of trust. After four years as president you know me. You may not agree with every decision I’ve made. You may be frustrated sometimes at the pace of change. But you know that I say what I mean and I mean what I say. You know what I believe. You know where I stand. You know I tell the truth. You know I’ll fight for working familes every single day, as hard as I know how," he said.
The Romney campaign stuck by its assertion that American automakers are expanding production overseas,.
“The facts are clear: despite his false and misleading attacks, President Obama took the auto companies into bankruptcy. His mismanagement of the process has exposed taxpayers to a $25 billion loss. Under President Obama, we have lost 586,000 manufacturing jobs and the unemployment rate is higher than when he took office. Mitt Romney has a plan to strengthen American manufacturing, create 12 million new jobs in America, and deliver a real recovery," said the OHio Romney campaign spokesman Chris Maloney.
The Obama campaign announced that Democratic Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, will campaign Sunday in Fremont, with pop singer Jason Mraz. Tickets are available for the the Bidens' Fremont rally at campaign field offices 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.
In Hilliard, Mr. Obama hailed the October jobs, which showed unemployment up slightly to 7.9 percent, but with 171,000 jobs created.
"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."
Mr. Obama canceled a Youngstown campaign trip on Monday to focus on the effects of Hurricane Sandy and made 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.
Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland introduced Mr. Obama, his overworked voice cracking on almost every word, as he praised President Obama for the 2009 American Recovery Act, also known as the stimulus, as well as Obamacare.
"When this country was in the depths of the greatest recession since the Great Depression..., the President came to office and immediately took action. It stopped the freefall, kept Ohio from falling into the deepest abyss and Ohio is benefiting today because of what President Obama did for us," 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.
Mr. Obama will return for rallies in Mentor on Saturday, Cincinnati on Sunday, and Columbus on Monday.
Mr. Romney will rally Sunday evening in Cleveland and on Monday in Columbus. Mr. Ryan is to campaign Saturday morning at Marietta College.
Mr. Obama rallied with a 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.
“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."
Columbus bureau chief Jim Provance contributed to this report.
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