Noting that "There has been more money flooding into the system than we've ever seen before, more negative ads, more cynicism," the president urged his followers to stay positive and interested.
In a speech delivered in sweltering heat but regularly interrupted by laughter, applause and shouts of "I love you!" and "Four more years," Obama said he did not think "Mr. Romney's plan to spend trillions of dollars more on tax cuts for folks who don't need them and aren't even asking for them, is the right way to grow our economy, especially since they want to pay for it by cutting education spending and cutting job-creating programs."
Alluding to his support of the revived U.S. auto industry, Obama pointed out "that Chrysler plant up the road (in Toledo, Ohio) is bringing on another 1,100 employees to make the cars the world wants to buy. "What's happening in Toledo can happen in cities like Cleveland, can happen in Pittsburgh. It can happen in other industries. I want it happening all over this country," he said.
Following the appearance in Maumee, Obama told a campaign audience in Sandusky, Ohio, the country has "had to spend 3 1/2 years recovering and pushing back" from the worst recession since the Great Depression, and repeated the "bet on American workers" theme that is central to this series of campaign stops.
"Manufacturing is starting to come back here in Ohio and all across the country, some of the biggest manufacturing job growth since the 1990s," he said. "A lot of folks lost their jobs, but a lot of folks have retrained and now they're going back and getting jobs in renewable energy and industries of the future.
"But for all the progress we've made, we've still got a long way to go," he said.
"It's not enough just to recover and get back to where we were before the crisis," the president said. "We've still got to address this basic challenge of how do we build a strong middle class and make sure that the next generation has the same opportunities that we did. And that's a long-term project. It's not going to happen overnight. But we've got to start working on it right now."
As he often has during the campaign, Obama said he and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney present voters with "two fundamentally different visions."
He said Romney "and his Republican allies in Congress, some of those special interests that support him, their basic vision says if we just cut taxes by about $5 trillion, especially for the wealthiest Americans, and we eliminate all these regulations that we put in place … that somehow wealthy investors will benefit and it will all trickle down, and everybody here will do better."
"We tried that," he said. "We tried it before I came into office. Not only did it not work, it led to the worst financial crisis that we've had in our lifetimes. Why would we want to go back to something that didn't work?"