President Barack Obama came to Ohio for the 12th time this year Monday, rallying supporters in Cincinnati and Columbus with talk about a five-point plan for the future of the nation, and attacking election challenger Mitt Romney for what he called “the same plan Republicans have been offering for decades.”
“The path I offer is harder, but it leads to a better place because it allows everybody to prosper — anybody who’s willing to work hard can get ahead,” Obama told a crowd of 4,500 at Schiller Park in Columbus.
An equally large crowd turned out at Eden Park in Cincinnati earlier in the day, where Obama repeatedly said he wanted to grow the economy out from the middle, rather than from the top down.
“After all that we’ve been through, does anybody actually believe that rolling back regulations on Wall Street is going to help the small businesswoman in Cincinnati expand?” he asked. “We have been there, we have tried that and we are not going back.”
Romney Ohio spokesman Chris Maloney said Obama “has resorted to recycling false and debunked attacks because he can’t sell Ohioans on his record of fewer jobs, more debt, and lower incomes.”
In both cities, the centerpiece of Obama’s five-point plan was tax reform. He reiterated the difference between his tax plan and Romney’s, referring several times to “millionaires and billionaires” who would receive the benefit of Romney’s suggested tax cuts. Obama has proposed letting tax cuts expire for those who make more than $250,000 a year as a way to reduce the federal deficit.
“They want your vote but they don’t want you to know their plan because the plan they’re offering is the same-old, same-old we’ve been hearing from them for years,” Obama said. “They want tax cuts, tax cuts, roll back some regulations and more tax cuts.”
The Tax Policy Center pieced together Romney’s tax promises, including income tax rate reductions and capping overall federal spending, and concluded Romney would have to eliminate many popular tax breaks and raise taxes on the middle class.
Obama, who often cites the Tax Policy Center report, said his opponent’s plan is missing one thing: Arithmetic. Obama said Romney’s proposed tax cuts would cost $5 trillion, or $500 billion each year — about as much as the U.S. defense budget.
Obama appealed to Buckeye fans and used Ohio Stadium to illustrate Romney’s plan. Obama said 100,000 fans would pay for tax cuts for 106 fans — and the 106 fans getting the tax break would be sitting in the box seats.
Referring often to his speech from the Democratic National Convention, Obama asked the crowd in Cincinnati “to rally around a set of goals” for the next four years, and said talk of America’s decline is misplaced.
“There’s not a country on earth that wouldn’t trade places with the United States of America,” he said. “Our problems can be solved and our challenges can be met.”
The five goals started with a call for America to “export more products and outsource fewer jobs.” Obama touted the auto industry’s recovery after his bailout measure, and accused Romney of being a “pioneer” in sending jobs overseas when he was in private business. Second, he pushed for better educational access and financial aid for Americans, calling it crucial to creating the future workforce.
Obama said he has a plan for America to control more of its energy, talking about doubling renewable energy output and developing a safe way to extract underground natural gas deposits to cut oil imports in half by 2020.
His last two points were to “reduce our deficit without sticking it to the middle class” and to reform the tax code, asking those who make more than $250,000 a year to pay more.
Just outside Eden Park, Republican Congressman Steve Chabot and Ohio Auditor Dave Yost pointed out that Obama’s stated 10-year, $4 trillion debt reduction plan had been called “simply not accurate” by fact checkers, including the Washington Post.
“President Obama said in 2008 that adding $4 trillion to our national debt was ‘irresponsible’ and ‘unpatriotic,’” Chabot said. “However, since President Obama took office, his fiscally irresponsible plans have added over $5 trillion more to the debt.”
Mary Lierfall of Hamilton said Obama’s tax plan is “common sense, not socialism,” and said she fears the repeal of health care reform if Romney wins.
Tom Dorsett of Centerville said Obama “really gets you fired up about things,” and argued that, “He is trying to bring us back, and the Republicans get in his way.”
“I feel like he really has the country’s best interests at heart,” said Suzy Mancher of Middletown. “He got us out of the wars in the Middle East and he’s been fighting to rebuild the economy. People want a quick fix, but it will take time to fix everything. I think his plan makes the most sense from what I’ve heard out of both sides.”