ByÂ Dave Boyer-The Washington Times
TOLEDO, Ohio â€” As his allies in big labor savaged Republican presidential nomineeÂ Mitt Romney, President Obama told a heavily union crowd in this auto-manufacturing town Monday that he saved the industry whileÂ Mr. RomneyÂ would have allowed it to collapse.
â€œWhen the auto industry was flat-lining, what was inÂ Gov. Romneyâ€™s playbook was to let Detroit go bankrupt,â€ Mr. Obama told about 3,100 supporters at a high school gymnasium. â€œYou would have been benched for good. We werenâ€™t going to give up on your jobs. I stood with American workers. Three years later, that bet is paying off for America.â€
The president is on a four-state campaign swing through battleground states on his way to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., where he will arrive Wednesday. Mr. Obama has visited Iowa, Colorado and Ohio on this trip, with a trip to Norfolk, Va., set for Tuesday.
Ohio is one of the most hotly contested states in the race â€” no Republican has ever won theÂ White HouseÂ without carrying Ohio â€” and Mr. Obama is playing heavily on his bailout of the auto industry to win here. The president mockedÂ Mr. RomneyÂ withÂ footballÂ analogies, playing on the Republicanâ€™s comment in Ohio last weekend that America needs a new coach.
â€œHe said heâ€™s going to be the coach that leads America to a winning season,â€ Mr. Obama said. â€œThe problem is, everybodyâ€™s already seen his playbook.â€
On first down, Mr. Obama said,Â Mr. RomneyÂ â€œhikes taxes,â€ although the president fumbled the delivery of his line.
On second down, he said,Â Mr. RomneyÂ â€œcalls an audible and undoes reforms that are there to prevent another financial crisis and bank bailout.â€
On third down, â€œhe calls for a Hail Mary â€” endingÂ MedicareÂ as we know it,â€ Mr. Obama said.
He told Ohioans of the Romney-Ryan plan: â€œPunt it away. You donâ€™t need that coach. Thatâ€™s a losing season.â€
Mr. Obama got an assist onÂ Labor DayÂ from union officials, who deployed some of the most heated rhetoric of the campaign. Speaker after speaker preceding the president at the rally blastedÂ Mr. Romney, withÂ AFL-CIOÂ PresidentÂ Richard L. TrumkaÂ suggesting that the Republican is exploiting racial and social divisions in the campaign.
â€œThe Republican candidate for president has decided to target people like you and me,â€Â Mr. TrumkaÂ told the crowd. â€œHe wants to target us with ads and with mail that make sly appeals to ugly, ugly emotions and social divisions. His goal is to pit the American people against each other so we wonâ€™t vote. What heâ€™s doing is beneath the dignity of the American people, and we wonâ€™t let him win. Itâ€™s time that we take a stand against intolerance and for American values.â€
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