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Politics




Obama kicks off campaign in Ohio
President's theme is different in 2012.
by WKSU's STATEHOUSE CORRESPONDENT JO INGLES
This story is part of a special series.


Reporter
Jo Ingles
 

President Obama kicked off his re-election campaign this weekend at Ohio State University. Four years ago, the President’s theme was change. This time around, his theme is different. As Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles reports the President is now focused on moving forward.

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The big signs at the Schottenstein center said one word – Forward. President Obama says it’s important the country look ahead instead of returning to the same political policies that he says put the country’s economy in an economic downfall that started before he took office.

"We have come too far to abandon the change we fought for these past few years," Obama said at the rally. "We have to move forward to the future we imagined in 2008 where everyone gets a fair shot and everyone does their fair share and everyone plays by the same rules.  That’s the choice in this election.  And that’s why I’m running for a second term as president of the United States."

The President said his domestic policies are working, pointing to how the affordable care act is allowing many students to stay on their parents health insurance until they are 26, how the auto bailout saved American car companies and thousands of jobs, and how he’s wiped out the don’t ask, don’t tell policy affecting gays serving in the military.  When it comes to foreign policy, President Obama pointed out he kept his promise to get out of the war in Iraq.

"Osama Bin Laden is no longer a threat to this country. Al Qaeda is on the path to defeat and by 2014, the war in Afghanistan will be over."

President Obama painted his Republican counterpart as being out of touch with the needs of ordinary Ohioans.

"This is a make it or break it moment for the middle class and we’ve been through too much to turn back now."

President Obama said the strength of this country lies with productive workers. He took a jab at a comment recently made by Romney.

"I don’t care how many ways you try to explain it. Corporations aren’t people. People are people."

But Ryan Williams, a spokesman for Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, was at the Obama re-election kickoff and he said it was the same old story.

"This speech was a retread, a cut and paste job of President Obama’s 2008 rhetoric," he said. "Unfortunately for him, he has a record to defend this time around. And it’s a record of explosive deficits, job losses and fiscal mismanagement in Washington."

Williams said there’s a reason why President Obama is using the word “forward” as his campaign slogan.

"He’s trying to shift the focus from his record and what he’s done over the past three years. His policies, whether it is the stimulus, the health care boondoggle or anything else have not succeeded so he does not want to run on his record."

Williams said President Obama has lost his touch with Ohioans. An estimated 14,000 people attended the event, but the arena could handle 20,000.  Williams quickly seized on that point that the Obama campaign couldn’t fill the Schottenstein Center.

"This arena was not full so the President failed to meet the bar his campaign set."

But Romney has been playing to much smaller crowds of 200 or less. When asked why he hasn’t spoke at a big venue, Williams responded that Romney doesn’t have the organizational advantages right now that President Obama does. Williams said that will change and Romney will be able to go toe to toe with the President in this race. That’s something President Obama is counting on too.  He urged the people who attended to fight even harder for him this year.

"This is not just another election. This is a make it or break it moment for the middle class and we’ve been through too much to turn back now"

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