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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

In Ohio, Obama Takes On Romney Over China and Jobs


BOWLING GREEN, Ohio - President Obama joined his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, in this crucial swing state on Wednesday, trumpeting his recently opened unfair-trade case against China in a bid to shore up support here before Election Day.

Again accusing Mr. Romney of profiting from companies that outsource jobs to China, Mr. Obama sought to push a narrative in this manufacturing state of himself as an advocate of the American worker. His visit to Ohio meshed with the second day of Mr. Romney's bus tour of the state, where he has been joined by his running mate, Representative Paul D. Ryan.

“Now I understand why my opponent has been spending some time in Ohio lately, and he's been talking tough on China,” Mr. Obama told a crowd of 5,700 students and supporters at Bowling Green State University, who booed obligingly. “He says he's going to take the fight to them.”

Mr. Obama added, “I've got to admit that message is better than what he's actually done on China.”

With recent polls showing the president with a lead in Ohio and early voting scheduled to start on Tuesday, Mr. Obama is trying to nail down this bellwether state. That is a tall order, but Obama advisers said that early voting meant a chance to put people who voted now out of reach of Mr. Romney.

The president clearly got that campaign memo.

“Ohio, starting on Oct. 2, which is just six days from now, you get to start voting,” Mr. Obama said. “You get to have your say.”

But Mr. Romney was campaigning hard in the state too, his last big campaign push before he goes dark for a few days to prepare for the first presidential debate nex t week.

The president is back on the campaign trail after several days in which the focus was on foreign policy and national security. Mr. Obama was at the United Nations General Assembly this week, and Mr. Romney was in New York on Tuesday as well, speaking before the Clinton Global Initiative about development issues and foreign aid.

With just five weeks left until the election, the president is trying hard to gallop ahead while he can. His advisers say he is not a good debater and is more reliant on connecting on the campaign trail.

Several times on Wednesday, Mr. Obama referred to comments by Mr. Romney that 47 percent of voters were reliant on government entitlements and would not vote for him.

“I don't think we can get very far with leaders who write off half the nation as a bunch of victims,” Mr. Obama said. “As I ride around Ohio, I don't see a bunch of victims.”

After visiting Bowling Green, the president headed to Kent State U niversity to continue his Ohio efforts. On Thursday, he will visit another swing state, Virginia, and then go to Nevada on Sunday before settling into two days of debate preparations in Denver.