- South Africans hold day of prayer for Nelson Mandela
- Mandela not on life support in final hours, friend says
- Ukraine protesters topple, decapitate Lenin statue in Kiev
- Kim Jong-un’s uncle removed from North Korean state documentary
- Thailand crisis deepens as opposition quits Parliament
- Campbell Soup apologizes for SpaghettiOs’ Pearl Harbor tweet
- Former Reagan aide James Baker: President regretted apartheid veto
- Some donations to gay waitress who allegedly forged hate note refunded
- German President Joachim Gauck boycotting Sochi Olympics
- Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel: If you want to pay more for your doctor, you can under Obamacare
In Ohio, Obama says ‘more work to do’ on economy
SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — Striking a new tone, President Obama four days ahead of his reelection test told voters Friday that he "loves" working with Republicans.
Facing criticism from Republican rival Mitt Romney that he has failed to govern in a bipartisan manner, Mr. Obama tried to convince Ohioans that he is willing and eager to cross the aisle to break gridlock in Washington in his second term.
"When the other party has been with me to help middle-class families, I love working with them," the president told about 4,000 supporters at a high school gym in Springfield, Ohio. "When we cut taxes for middle-class families and small businesses, some of them cooperated. When we came together to repeal 'Don't ask, don't tell,' there were some courageous Republican senators who stood up. I appreciate that. I will work with anybody of any party to move this country forward."
Mr. Romney, campaigning in Wisconsin, said the president has fallen short on his promises, including a pledge in 2008 to "change the tone" in Washington.
"He promised to be a 'post-partisan president' but he became the most partisan — blaming, attacking, dividing," Mr. Romney said.
Both candidates are making appeals in the campaign's final weekend to independent voters, who according to pollsters give high marks to candidates who support bipartisanship. But even as Mr. Obama touted his efforts to work with Republicans, the president warned that he is only willing to go so far in search of legislative deals.
"I want everybody to be clear, there are still going to be some struggles and some fights," Mr. Obama said. "I'm a very nice guy, people will tell you. But if the price of peace in Washington is cutting deals that kick students off financial aid or get rid of funding for Planned Parenthood or let insurance companies discriminate against people with preexisting conditions ... I'll fight against that deal. That's not bipartisanship. I'm a long ways away from giving up on this fight. I've got a lot of fight left in me. I don't get tired."
With his reelection hinging in large on the economy, Mr. Obama also put the best face on a mixed jobs report Friday that saw solid job growth but also an uptick in the national jobless rate to 7.9 percent. He told voters in this crucial battleground state that his administration has made progress putting people back to work.
"This morning we learned that companies hired more workers in October than at any time in the last eight months," Mr. Obama told about 2,800 people in a fairgrounds barn. "We've got more work to do."
In the final jobs report before Tuesday's election, the government said Friday that 171,000 jobs were created in October, a figure better than most analysts expected. But the unemployment rate rose to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent, and the number of unemployed rose by 170,000, to about 12.3 million Americans, as more people rejoined the labor force.
Mr. Romney called the unemployment news "a sad reminder that the economy is at a virtual standstill."
"The jobless rate is higher than it was when President Obama took office, and there are still 23 million Americans struggling for work," Mr. Romney said in a statement. "On Tuesday, America will make a choice between stagnation and prosperity. ... For four years, President Obama has told us that things are getting better and that we're making progress. For too many American families, those words ring hollow."
Ohio is the biggest battleground prize, and Mr. Obama spent all day in the state, with stops in Hilliard, Lima and Springfield. With much of the battle focused on the state's large auto manufacturing industry, the president criticized a Romney television ad appearing to imply that Chrysler was planning to move Jeep manufacturing jobs from Ohio to China — a charge that Chrysler officials have denied. Mr. Obama tried to tie the ad to Mr. Romney's opposition to his plan for a direct taxpayer bailout of the auto industry in 2009, and said he had heard some Chrysler workers had actually contacted their bosses fearful that they were losing their jobs.
"It's not true," Mr. Obama said. "I understand that Gov. Romney's had a tough time in Ohio because he was against saving the auto industry. I know we're close to an election, but this isn't a game. These are people's jobs. These are people's lives. You don't scare hard-working Americans just to scare up some votes. That's not what being president's all about."
With Ohio's 18 electoral votes up for grabs, both candidates will campaign here several times heading into the final weekend of the race. Both campaigns are counting on Ohio as the linchpin in their paths to victory in the Electoral College. No Republican candidate has won the presidency in modern times without carrying Ohio.
"Ohio is at the tip of the spear, and the world and the nation know that Ohio is the firewall for President Barack Obama," Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland told the crowd in a chilly, dusty barn at the Franklin County fairgrounds. He said Mr. Romney and running mate Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin "don't even know how to fake compassion." The governor ridiculed Mr. Ryan's recent photo-op washing dishes at a soup kitchen in Ohio, and Mr. Romney's effort collecting non-perishable goods for the Red Cross to distribute to victims of Superstorm Sandy.
Mr. Strickland criticized Mr. Romney for "getting his picture taken loading boxes on a truck. Send money, send money to the American Red Cross."
A new Reuters-Ipsos on Friday found Mr. Obama with a small lead, 47 percent to 45 percent over Mr. Romney in Ohio, although the two are dead even nationally. The Real Clear Politics average of polls also shows Mr. Obama ahead slightly, 48.9 percent to 46.6 percent.
As the president's motorcade pulled away from the fairgrounds in Hilliard, he was greeted by someone hold a cardboard sign proclaiming: "Benghazi — Don't Stand Down to Terrorists," a reference to media reports that U.S. officials failed to send reinforcements immediately while the U.S. consulate in Libya was under attack in September. Four Americans died, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.
Again in Springfield, the president was greeted by several people holding signs protesting the administration's handling of the Benghazi attack, including "Angry Ohio patriot" and "Pretty little liars."
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Dave Boyer is a White House correspondent for The Washington Times. A native of Allentown, Pa., Boyer worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer from 2002 to 2011 and also has covered Congress for the Times. He is a graduate of Penn State University. Boyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Obama: Hole U.S. 'digging out of' requires billions more in unemployment benefits
- Biden: U.S., world 'will not accept' a nuclear-armed North Korea
- Obama downplays IRS scandal, blames Obamacare rollout on 'outdated' agencies
- Biden leaves with no concessions from China, heads next to South Korea
- Biden in Beijing: From diplomat to tourist on taxpayer dime
Latest Blog Entries
- Obama: Hole U.S. 'digging out of' requires billions more in unemployment benefits
- Spike in battlefield deaths linked to restrictive rules of engagement
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- PRUDEN: British press horrified as London's new mayor dares to proclaim the truth
- Sen. Richard Durbin: No line in the sand on unemployment benefits
- Dick Cheney: Family feud over gay marriage has been 'dealt with'
- Sen. Rand Paul: Supreme Court needs to re-examine Fourth Amendment
- Sen. Rand Paul: 'I am seriously thinking about' running for president in 2016
- 'Hunger Games' delivers Obama's message on income inequality
- Rep. Mike McCaul: 'Al Qaeda's on the run' is 'false narrative'
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Entertainment News and Reviews from Washington, D.C. and beyond.
Get in the middle of all the action inside and outside the boxing ring.
Opinion, analysis, and musings on politics, pop culture, reinvention, and the resultant flotsam and jetsam floating around the right-of-center quadrant of the Left Coast.
Let it snow
White House pets gone wild!