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Published: 11/4/2012

First Lady, Mrs. Biden rally Ohio voters

Wives crisscross state for Democratic ticket

BY TOM TROY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

PARMA, Ohio — The First and Second Ladies of the United States both campaigned Saturday in Ohio for their husbands’ re-elections as president and vice president.

Michelle Obama addressed rallies at Kenyon College in Gambier and Miami University in Oxford, while Jill Biden thanked Democratic volunteers in suburban Cleveland.

Mrs. Obama touched on family pocketbook issues and education, as well as economic issues. President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are seeking a second term against Republicans Mitt Romney and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan.

“While some folks were willing to let the auto industry go under — do you know who I’m talking about? — with more than a million jobs that would have been lost, Barack had the backs of American workers. He put his faith in the American people, and that’s why, today, the American auto industry is back on its feet again,” Mrs. Obama said.

She supplied her listeners with talking points to use in the remaining three days before the election to convince undecided people, or even win converts.

She recalled that the outcome was close enough in 2008, just over 262,000 votes, that “just one vote in a neighborhood could make a difference. Just one more vote in a dorm room could change the direction of a nation.”

At Kenyon College, Mrs. Obama spoke frequently about issues affecting students. About 1,800 attended the speech at the college, which has 1,600 students.

In Parma, Mrs. Biden, who has a PhD in educational leadership and is a writing instructor at a community college in northern Virginia, made her first solo appearance in Ohio on behalf of President Obama and her husband.

She stressed education, veterans’ services, and women’s issues during her talk at the Obama field office in the Cleveland suburb.

“This is about people’s lives. Even if Joe weren’t on this ticket, I’d still be working hard for this election,” Mrs. Biden said. She was accompanied by her daughter, Ashley, her daughter’s husband, Howard Krein, and her granddaughter Finnegan.

Speaking in the small office to about 45 people, Mrs. Biden cited instances of education policy that occurred during the Obama-Biden Administration, including doubling of funding for Pell grants and reform of the college student loan process.

Mrs. Biden said women should have an interest because Mr. Obama signed the Lily Ledbetter Act, making it easier for women to sue for back pay in gender-discrimination cases and because women are treated equally under the Affordable Care Act.

“We don’t want our daughters and granddaughters to have to go back and fight the battles of years ago,” Mrs. Biden said. “Everything we fought for is at stake.”

Two men picketed outside with signs saying, “Pray to end abortion.”

Attending the event was U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo), whose new congressional district now includes the northern half of Parma, which has a General Motors Co. stamping plant.

“This was a community that was at risk because of what happened in the automotive industry,” Miss Kaptur said. She is running for re-election against Republican Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher of Springfield Township near Toledo.

Staff writer Federico Martinez contributed to this report.

Contact Tom Troy at: tomtroy@theblade.com or 419-724-6058.



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