DAYTON, Ohio -- Fresh from his foreign policy debate the night before, President Barack Obama told 9,500 supporters rallying in a city park Tuesday that his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, is switching positions in the waning days before the election.
"Trust matters," the president said. "You want the person who's applying to be president and commander in chief to be trustworthy, that he means what he says, that he's not making stuff up depending on whether it's convenient or not."
He was joined on stage by Vice President Joe Biden for the first time this year on the campaign trail. Earlier in the day, Mr. Biden appeared solo at the University of Toledo.
"Unfortunately, Gov. Romney's foreign policy is wrong and reckless," Mr. Obama said. "You heard him last night. He was all over the map."
Mr. Obama listed a series of his own job-creation proposals that included using savings from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to fuel infrastructure and school construction in America, ending the tax loophole for shipping jobs overseas, cutting oil imports in half by 2020, improving education and job-training, recruiting 100,000 math and science teachers, and cutting the deficit by $4 trillion.
"Instead of laying out a second-term agenda or ideas for how we can stop the recent loss of Ohio manufacturing jobs, Barack Obama instead chose to resort to the same recycled failed ideas, tired distortions and negative attacks which have come to define his campaign's closing argument for re-election," Romney spokesman Chris Maloney said. "The president finds himself losing ground in Ohio because voters are looking for leadership, not four more years of higher taxes and debt that have ground our recovery to a halt."
Now that the final debate is history, the two-week stretch is under way with all four of the major players concentrating on a state that is largely considered a must-win Nov. 6.
Ohioans have been voting since Oct. 2, and the number of voters still up for grabs shrinks by the day. Secretary of State Jon Husted said Tuesday that more than 1.6 million Ohioans, roughly 20 percent of 8 million registered voters, have already cast absentee ballots or requested one.
Mr. Romney is expected to fly into Cincinnati tonight in preparation for a local campaign stop Thursday morning at Jet Machine, and then later in the day at Worthington Industries in Columbus. That will be followed Thursday night by a rally and concert at Defiance High School's football stadium.
Mr. Obama will be back in Cleveland on Thursday night, closing out a two-day tour of battleground states that will also take him to Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, Florida and Virginia.
Block News Alliance consists of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Blade of Toledo, Ohio. Jim Provance is a reporter for The Blade.