Elections 2012: Obama, Romney Give Dueling Speeches In Ohio

President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney on Thursday offered dueling addresses on the economy in the critical swing state of Ohio, providing the first real split-screen day of the general election.

President Barack Obama cast his re-election race against Republican Mitt Romney as the economic choice of a lifetime on Thursday, seeking to stir undecided voters and asking the nation to buy into his vision for four more years or face a return to the recession-era "mistakes of the past." Photo: Barack Obama/Flickr

The two speeches by Obama and Romney took place at roughly the same time, with Obama addressing a crowd of 1,500 people at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland and Romney speaking 250 miles away, at the other end of the state, in Cincinnati.

President Obama embraced a general election fight versus his Republican rival Mitt Romney on the core issue of the economy, casting the fall campaign as a chance to break a “stalemate” between warring political factions in Washington, according to Yahoo.

“There is one place I stand in complete agreement with Mr. Romney,” Obama said. “This election is about our economic future.”

“This November is your chance to render a verdict on the debate over how to grow the economy, how to create good jobs, how to pay down our deficit,” Obama told supporters in Cleveland.

“Your vote will finally determine the path that we take as a nation — not just tomorrow, but for years to come,” the president said.

“What’s holding us back is a stalemate in Washington between two fundamentally different views of which direction America should take and this election is your chance to break that stalemate,” Obama said.

Mitt Romney struck first in a speech that ended four minutes before Obama took the stage. He said that Obama’s re-election campaign felt compelled to deliver a major address on the economy “because he hasn’t delivered a recovery for the economy,” reports The New York Times.

“Now, I know that he will have all sorts of excuses, and he’ll have all sorts of ideas he’ll describe about how he’ll make things better,” Romney said.

“But what he says and what he does are not always the exact same thing. And so if people want to know how his economic policies have worked and how they perform, why they can talk to their neighbor and ask if things are better,” said the former Massachusets governor.

“He’s been president for three and a half years. And talk is cheap, actions speak very loud. If you want to see the results of his economic policies, look around Ohio, look around the country,” Romney said at Seilkop Industries, a Cincinnati manufacturer.

Meanwhile, the president sought to tie Romney to congressional Republicans and former President George W. Bush, who believe that by eliminating regulations and cutting taxes by trillions of dollars, the market will improve, according to The Hill.

“They’ve promised to roll back regulations on banks and polluters,” Obama said. “They promised not only to keep all of the Bush tax cuts in place, but add another $5 trillion in taxes on top of that.”

The strategy used by Obama of blaming Bush for the nation’s economic woes could resonate, as a Gallup poll released on Thursday found that two-thirds of Americans blame Obama’s Republican predecessor, George W. Bush, for the troubled economy while just half pointed to Obama, says Reuters.

Barack Obama is currently facing a delicate balancing act. While the president must convince voters that the economy is headed in the right direction, he cannot minimize the struggles that many continue to face.

He did not help his cause last week when he said the private sector was “doing fine” compared with struggling local governments.

Though Obama acknowledged on Thursday that the comment was a misstep, Republicans didn’t miss a chance to say the remark shows he has little understanding of Americans’ economic troubles.

But the president, who acknowledged his own recent gaffe during his address, sought to go on the offensive.

“This election will take many twists and many turns,” Obama said. “Polls will go up and polls will go down. There will be no shortage of gaffes and controversies that keep both campaigns busy and give the press something to write about.

“You may have heard I recently made my own unique contribution to that process. It wasn’t the first time,” he added. “It won’t be the last.”

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