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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Obama to Focus on Education in Campaign Swing Through Ohio and Nevada


WASHINGTON â€" President Obama set off Tuesday on a two-day campaign swing through Ohio and Nevada, with plans to continue etching sharp differences with his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney â€" this time on education policy.

Mr. Obama, his campaign advisers said, will speak about his administration's investments in education through tuition tax credits, a doubling of the Pell Grant program, and incentives for colleges to keep a lid on tuition costs.

The president will attend rallies at colleges in Columbus, Ohio, and Reno, Nev., on Tuesday, and he will speak at a high school in Las Vegas on Wednesday before flying to New York City for fund-raisers on Wednesday evening.

Ohio and Nevada loom l arge as swing states in this election, though for somewhat different reasons. Both campaigns view Ohio as a must-win state, while Mr. Romney views Nevada, which Mr. Obama won by nearly 12 points in 2008, as a target of opportunity because of its wounded housing market and growing Mormon population.

It is Mr. Obama's eighth visit to Ohio this year. In May, he and his wife, Michelle, unofficially started his general election campaign with a large rally at Ohio State University. The president has traveled to Nevada five times in 2012, though this is his first purely campaign swing through the state.

In Nevada, which has some of the highest foreclosure rates in the country, Mr. Obama is likely to hammer Mr. Romney again on his statement during the Republican primaries that the housing crisis should be allowed to run its course without a government bailout. But Mr. Obama's own cautious response to the housing crisis will also come under scrutiny.

On education, t he Obama campaign will seek to draw a contrast with the policies of Mr. Romney and his running mate, Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin. It said in a statement that Mr. Romney's “advice for students trying to pay for college is to either ‘borrow money from their parents' or ‘shop around.' ” The Romney-Ryan budget, the campaign said, would slash investment in education.

The Romney campaign countered that the Obama administration's policies had resulted in a “lost generation” of young people whose access to college was hindered by spiraling tuition that left them with a crushing debt burn, and whose job prospects after school were dim because of the president's poor stewardship of the economy.

The campaign pointed to a question Mr. Obama was asked during an interview with a New Hampshire television station, WMUR, over the weekend, about why financially straitened college graduates should support his bid for re-election.

“Well, they can lo ok at my track record,” he said.