President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney both crisscrossed battleground Ohio on Wednesday, accusing each other of being untrustworthy and exchanging charges of who would ship more U.S. jobs overseas.
"I understand my opponent has been spending some time here in Ohio lately and he's been talking tough on China," Obama told a crowd at Bowling Green State University, repeating his charge that as a businessman Romney backed companies that shipped jobs to China. "He says he is going to take the fight to them, and I've got to admit that message ... it feels a lot like that fox saying, 'You know, we need more secure chicken coops.' It's just not credible."
Romney, meanwhile, was 130 miles away in Bedford Heights, accusing Obama of failing to resurrect the economy or help the jobless.
"You can be extraordinarily eloquent and describe all the wonderful things you can do," Romney told an older crowd gathered inside a factory that makes steel springs. "But when you cut through the words, you can look at the record, and when you can see policies that have not created the jobs America needs, then you know it is time to choose a new leader, get a new coach, get America growing again."
(See video clips from Obama's and Romney's events in Ohio at the bottom of this story)
Romney's audience warmly welcomed his attacks on Obama's economic policies, but Obama's college campus crowds were much younger and rowdier. Split-screen images of the events showed Obama surrounded by wide-eyed college kids chanting "four more years," while Romney was shown flanked by middle-age business owners and blue-collar workers, some of whom wore hard hats.
Speaking to Ohioans at three stops, Romney rarely strayed from the topic of the economy and his plan for spurring job growth, especially within the manufacturing sector, upon which Ohio's economy is deeply dependent.
"There are so many people in our country that are hurting right now," Romney said. "I want to help them. I know what it takes to get an economy going again and creating jobs."
Obama, who is leading Romney in a state that has been won by every Republican who went on to win the White House, focused on education policies that he said helped make college more affordable for more students.
"My opponent, he would gut education to pay for more tax breaks for the wealthy," Obama said. "We have a better plan."
Obama continued to vilify Romney for comments that were secretly videotaped and made public, in which the candidate said 47 percent of Americans are dependent on government and consider themselves victims.
"Look, I don't believe we can get very far with leaders who write off half the nation as a bunch of victims who never take responsibility for their own lives," Obama said. "I've got to tell you, as I travel around Ohio and as I look out on this crowd, I don't see a lot of victims. I see hard-working Ohioans."
As the candidates crisscrossed the state, two new polls were showing Obama pulling further ahead of Romney.