Obama campaign bus tour focuses on economy

July 5, 2012 at 4:00 AM   |   Comments

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MAUMEE, Ohio, July 5 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama's first bus tour of the campaign will focus on the economy, stopping first in the battleground state of Ohio Thursday, his campaign said.

The two-day "Betting on America" tour, which is to take the president to Pennsylvania Friday, follows the Ohio and Pennsylvania release this week of an Obama campaign ad casting presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney as an "outsourcing pioneer."

"Mitt Romney's companies were pioneers in outsourcing U.S. jobs to low-wage countries," the TV ad says. "He supports tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas. President Obama believes in insourcing."

Obama is expected to use his stops in manufacturing towns to underscore his support for bailing out the U.S. auto industry and to remind voters that Romney -- whose Republican-politician father was an automotive company chairman in the 1950s and '60s -- was against the bailout, his campaign said.

General Motors and Chrysler, both bailed out in 2009, have large manufacturing operations in Ohio.

Obama is scheduled to arrive in Toledo, Ohio, at 10:55 a.m. EDT and travel until the evening, delivering remarks at campaign events in Maumee, Sandusky and Parma, the White House said.

Maumee, a Toledo suburb, is a town of 15,000 surrounded by manufacturers and small businesses. Parma, the largest Cleveland suburb, with 81,000 people, has a GM plant.

Sandusky, population 28,000, is on the shores of Lake Erie, where Obama is to attend an ice-cream social with residents. It was ranked No. 1 by Forbes magazine last year as the "Best Place to Live Cheaply" in the United States.

Obama's trip into Pennsylvania Friday overlaps with the U.S. Labor Department's release of the latest monthly jobs report.

He is scheduled to deliver a speech that day at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

While this is Obama's first bus tour of the campaign, it is his third as president. It is being paid for by his re-election campaign. The other two, made last year, were official government events, paid for by taxpayers.

The Romney campaign criticized Obama's handling of the economy on the eve of the tour.

"From day one of his administration, the president has pursued policies that have hurt job creators, hurt the manufacturing sector and left millions of Americans struggling to find work," Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said. "It's going to be hard for the president to argue Americans should gamble on a second term while on his bus tour."

Former GOP presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty and Republican Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal were scheduled to travel to Ohio and Pennsylvania at the same time Obama travels through both states, a Romney campaign official said.

As part of a "bracketing strategy," both surrogates for Romney will be on Romney's campaign bus, making stops Thursday and Friday in "several of the same areas" as Obama "to make sure the Romney message gets out," the official told CNN.

The two are widely considered to be potential Romney running-mates.

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