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FREMONT — As part of a tour of battleground Ohio, Vice President Joe Biden rallied an enthusiastic crowd of 1,550 people at Terra Community College Sunday, where he called Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney “shameless” for airing a campaign ad that claims Chrysler Group LLC is moving production of Jeeps from Toledo to China.
"You know people who got panicked when they saw that ad," he said. "You know, because you've been through this before. What a shameless thing to do. What a shameless thing," he told the crowd.
The Romney campaign has stuck by its ads as accurate, citing a report in Bloomberg and to Chrysler’s acknowledgement that it plans 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.
A Chrysler blog has stated, "Let’s set the record straight: Jeep has no intention of shifting production of its Jeep models out of North America to China. It’s simply reviewing the opportunities to return Jeep output to China for the world’s largest auto market. U.S. Jeep assembly lines will continue to stay in operation."
Mr. Biden's Fremont event was one stop in a tour that also included events in the Cleveland suburb of Lakewood, and in Lancaster, Ohio. Pop singer Jason Mraz was also at the event, and performed several songs before Mr. Biden, his wife Jill, and members of their family arrived.
Elsewhere in Ohio on Sunday, Mr. Romney campaigned in Cleveland and President Obama stumped for votes in Cincinnati with singer Stevie Wonder. In 2012, Mr. Biden has traveled to Ohio 11 times, according to information from the Obama campaign; this was Mrs. Biden's first visit to Ohio for campaign events in 2012.
Many political observers believe Ohio and its 18 electoral votes will decide the race for President. A poll by The (Columbus) Dispatch released Sunday shows President Obama leading 50 percent to 48 percent in Ohio. The poll has a 2.2-percentage point margin of error, making the race a statistical tie.
Mr. Obama narrowly won Sandusky County, where Fremont is located, in 2008, with 51 percent to 47 percent of votes.
A statement from the Romney campaign attacked Mr. Biden's remarks. “With no record to run on and no vision for the future, Joe Biden once again resorted to false, discredited attacks and a cynical closing message urging voters to choose ‘revenge.’ Mitt Romney wants to bring people together and he wants Americans to vote for love of country. He will stand up to China, bolster American manufacturing, and deliver real change for a real recovery, creating 12 million new jobs with rising take-home pay and a better future for all Americans,” said the statement from Christopher Maloney, a Romney campaign spokesman.
Speaking in Springfield, Ohio, on Friday, President Obama commented when crowds booed at the mention of Mr. Romney, "Don't boo, vote. Vote. Voting's the best revenge."
Mr. Biden was introduced to the crowd by his wife who is an English professor at a community college in northern Virginia.
Several in attendance said they were enthusiastic Obama/Biden supporters; a number of them said they had already voted via Ohio's early voting option which began Oct. 2.
Connie Young of nearby Norwalk said she strongly believes in President Obama's health care reforms, in particular those that protect people with a prior health problem from being discriminated against by insurance companies.
James Davis of Fremont said he came out to support Mr. Biden.
"Obama has kept his promises," he said. "The economy is turning around." Mr. Davis also said he works at an automotive parts supplier and so benefited indirectly from the auto-industry rescue.
"I hope to give [Mr. Obama] four more years," he said.
Contact Kate Giammarise at: email@example.com or 419-724-6091 or on Twitter @KateGiammarise.