Obama attacks Romney, Republicans on economic policy

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MAUMEE, Ohio -- President Barack Obama hammered again on Republican opponent Mitt Romney as an investor in outsourcing while he says he is looking out for the middle class during the first speech of his two-day trip through northern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania.

Before a crowd this afternoon at the Wolcott House Museum Complex in this suburb of Toledo, the president alluded to the complaint his administration filed today in the World Trade Organization against China's imposition of 15 percent tariffs on Jeep Wranglers and other SUVs.

The president highlighted the 2009 auto rescue as an example of his commitment to the middle class, and attacked Mr. Romney and the Republicans as committed to a "top-down" approach to the economy that cuts taxes on the wealthy, while cutting education and job-training.

"Governor Romney's experience has been in opening companies that were called pioneers of outsourcing. Pioneers of outsource. My experience has been in saving the American auto industry," Mr. Obama said.

He referred to the Jeep plant in Toledo that is making the "car the world wants."

He called on Congress to support his effort to help homeowners refinance their mortgages and save $3,000.

"Could you use an extra $3,000?" he asked, pointing out it would be spent in restaurants and stores.

Mr. Obama also heralded his health care plan, and said he would work with everyone who wants to make it better, but sent a message to Republicans planning to repeal a plan they regard as an infringement on individual liberty.

"The law I passed is here to stay. It is going to make the vast majority of Americans more secure," Mr. Obama said.

The trip continues Friday with a stop in Poland, Ohio, and ends in Pittsburgh.

The Romney campaign deployed as surrogates Louisana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty who met with reporters in Maumee before the president's arrival. They, likewise, will be in Pittsburgh on Friday.

Staff writer Ignazio Messina contributed to this report.

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