ELYRIA, Ohio — US President Barack Obama on Wednesday fired the opening shot in a battle with his Republican foe Mitt Romney, for the critical general election swing-state of Ohio.
Obama traveled to the suburbs of Cleveland on the shores of Lake Erie to lambast Republican economic policies, which he said had whipped up “rampant, phony profits” and triggered the worst economic crisis since the 1930s.
“Our entire financial system almost collapsed and we have spent the last three and a half years cleaning up after that mess,” Obama said, criticizing Republican support for tax cuts for the rich and less regulation.
“So their theory did not work out so well.
“Instead of moderating their views even slightly, you now have Republicans in Washington, the ones running for president, proposing budgets that shower the wealthiest Americans with even more tax cuts.”
Romney, the all but certain Republican nominee to take on Obama in November for control of the White House, is set to visit Ohio on Thursday to make a speech on what his campaign termed Obama’s “failed economic policies.”
He will appear at a factory which closed down after Obama campaigned there in 2008, and will argue that Obama’s policies had choked economic and job growth since he took office in 2009.
No Republican has ever lost Ohio and won the White House, and the state is shaping up as a crucial test again in the 2012 election.
Obama, who has a number of routes to the 270 electoral votes needed to win the election without Ohio, held an 8.6 percentage point lead in an average of recent polls by the RealClearPolitics website.