MENTOR, Ohio -- With Mitt Romney campaigning for the four electoral votes of swing state New Hampshire, President Barack Obama had Ohio to himself Saturday, predicting victory if his supporters would get out to vote for him.
Reprising the same basic speech that he gave the day earlier in Hilliard, Springfield, and Lima, Ohio, Mr. Obama thundered to a cheering crowd in Mentor High School here east of Cleveland that he doesn't plan to veer away from the fight he's been waging the last four years.
"The folks at the very top of this country, they don't need a champion in Washington. They already have a seat at the table," Mr. Obama said. "If the price of peace in Washington is cutting deals that will end up kicking students off financial aid, or getting rid of Planned Parenthood, or letting insurance companies discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, or eliminating health care for millions. ... that's not a price I'll pay."
He said his vision includes everyone getting a shot at a great education, and recruiting 100,000 math and science teachers. "Don't tell me hiring more teachers won't help grow this economy," he said.
"We know this country can't thrive, can't succeed without a growing, strong middle class. America is always at its best when everybody gets a fair shot, everybody does their fair share, and everybody's playing by the same rules," he said.
The Romney campaign said Mr. Obama has "no record to run on and no vision for the future.
"President Obama is resorting to false, discredited attacks and a cynical closing message urging voters to choose 'revenge.' Mitt Romney wants to bring people together and he wants Ohioans to vote for love of country. He will deliver real change for a real recovery, creating 12 million new jobs with rising take-home pay and a better future for all Americans," said Chris Maloney, Romney campaign spokesman.
Obama campaign organizers said there were 4,010 in the high school gym and in an overflow space. Mr. Obama spoke briefly in person to the overflow crowd.
"I'm confident we're going to win but only if you guys vote," he told them, before entering the gym.
Ohio's 18 electoral votes are viewed as more critical to Mr. Romney than to Mr. Obama because of the state's history of having been carried by every Republican presidential candidate. But public polling available to the political site RealClearPolitics.com on Saturday showed Mr. Obama with an average lead of 49.3 percent to 46.4 percent.
Mr Romney campaigned in Ohio on Friday and will be back in Ohio today and Monday -- as will the president.
Mr. Romney's running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, rallied supporters at Marietta College Saturday, while first lady Michelle Obama campaigned at Kenyon College in Gambier and the Miami University of Ohio in Oxford, while Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden, met with supporters in the Cleveland suburb of Parma Saturday night.
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Gov. John Kasich filled in for Mr. Romney, touring Zanesville, Columbus, Ohio State University, Ashland, Bucyrus, and Fremont on Saturday.
In Mentor, Mr. Obama attacked Mr. Romney for radio and TV ads that imply -- over the objections of General Motors and Chrysler -- that GM and Chrysler are planning to move jobs to China.
"I understand Gov. Romney has had a tough time here in Ohio because he was against saving the auto industry. It's hard to run away from that position when you're on videotape saying, let's let Detroit go bankrupt," Mr. Obama said.
"This raises an essential part of what your choice is all about. When you elect a president you don't know what kind of emergencies you may have, what problems he or she may have to deal with. But you do want to be able to trust your president," Mr. Obama said.
The Block News Alliance consists of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Blade of Toledo, Ohio. Tom Troy is a reporter for The Blade. First Published November 4, 2012 4:00 AM