President Uses Mansfield Backdrop To Criticize Romney Tax Plan

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President Obama addresses supporters in Mansfield Wednesday(Photo: Sam Hendren / WOSU)
President Obama addresses supporters in Mansfield Wednesday(Photo: Sam Hendren / WOSU)

President Barack Obama spent Wednesday campaigning in Ohio. In the morning he was in Mansfield, once a Republican stronghold. In remarks to a crowd of about 2,000, Mr. Obama said that Republican Mitt Romney’s economic plan would give tax cuts to the richest people in America at the expense of everyone else.

The president chose to hold his campaign rally in a tree-shaded park in the heart of downtown Mansfield. Access to the event was by ticket only. The curious, and a group of protesters, were kept several blocks away.

The sign-carrying demonstrators did not explain why they were chanting “Shame on you, Barack.” It’s likely the president never even saw them. Mr. Obama, meanwhile, seemed buoyed by the sea of supporters around him.

“No matter who you are or what you look like or where you come from, here in America, you can make it if you try,” the president said. “That’s what this campaign’s about Ohio, and that’s why I am running for a second term as president of the United States of America.”

The tone of the event at first was like a pep rally. But the president got down to business focusing his remarks on the middle class. In a city that’s been struggling with high unemployment the president hammered away at Republican opponent Mitt Romney’s tax cut plan which includes cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

“Ohio, we do not need more tax cuts for folks who are already doing really well,” said Mr. Obama. “We need tax cuts for working Americans. We need tax cuts for families who are trying to raise their children and keep them healthy and send them to college and put a roof over their heads.”

Mr. Obama said that America’s real economic strength lies in the middle class, not in the ranks of millionaires and billionaires.

“We know this country wasn’t built from the top down it was built by the middle class,” the president said. “It was built by farmers and factory workers and start-ups and small businesses and companies that sent American products overseas not sending American jobs overseas. That’s what built Ohio and that’s what built America.”

Mr. Obama’s remarks clearly resonated with the crowd.

“I just think the one percent that are trying to represent us as Americans, it’s not working,” said Barbara Peiker, who echoed the president’s sentiments.

“We need people who are real; in touch with middle class America because we can’t build a solid America from the top down because they are out of touch with us,” Peiker said.

Following the president’s speech, former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland remained a loyal Obama ally.
“If for no other reason, Ohio should support his reelection because he saved the American auto industry and he saved thousands and thousands of Ohio jobs,” Strickland said.

Strickland, like others in the crowd, also was skeptical about the direction the country might take should Mitt Romney be elected.

“I really do believe that Mitt Romney wants to take us back to the same circumstances, the same policies that led to this recession. And we need to move forward, not backward,” Strickland said.

A Romney spokesman said the Republican candidate believes lower tax rates across the board would jump-start the U.S. economy.

After the Mansfield rally, President Obama moved on to Akron for another stump speech. Click here for a report from WKSU’s Mark Urycki.