By Alicia M. Cohn - 07/05/12 04:52 PM EDT
President Obama said his healthcare law is here to stay during a sweltering campaign stop in swing-state Ohio on Thursday.
Obama touted the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold his signature healthcare reform legislation to cheers from a crowd of his supporters.
“The law I passed is here to stay,” he told an audience composed largely of Ohio automobile manufacturing workers.
Later, at a campaign stop in Sandusky, Ohio, Obama told a crowd of about
350 people that with the Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold the bulk of
the law, it was time for Republicans to move on.
“We fought so hard to make that happen and now the Supreme Court has ruled it’s time for us to move forward,” Obama said. “We don’t have to re-litigate the last two years. I don’t want us to keep having political arguments that are based on politics and not on facts.”
The president, wearing a short-sleeved shirt and sweating profusely in Maurnee, Ohio — his first stop of the day — also touted his support of the auto bailout and his administration's trade suit against China over auto tariffs as he began a two-day campaign bus trip through Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Both states are key to Obama’s reelection effort, and Ohio may be even more important to Republican Mitt Romney. No Republican presidential candidate has ever been elected president without winning Ohio, and polls show a tight race.
Obama’s campaign thinks his support for the auto industry will play well in Ohio, and he emphasized in his remarks Thursday the new trade case against China. He also criticized Romney’s opposition to the bailout of General Motors and Chrysler.
“Gov. Romney said we just let Detroit go bankrupt,” Obama said, referring to the title of an op-ed Romney wrote in 2008. “I refused to turn my back on communities like this one.”
Much of Obama’s speech was designed to appeal to blue-collar voters, and the president slammed Romney for wanting to give “tax breaks” to wealthy Americans and companies. “I sure don't agree with his plan to keep giving tax breaks to companies sending jobs overseas,” he said to a loud round of applause.
He went on to refer to a recent report charging that Romney's private equity firm invested in companies that specialized in outsourcing American jobs overseas. Romney’s campaign has criticized The Washington Post report as inaccurate.
“I want the goods shipped around the world stamped 'Made in America,’ ” Obama said.
The Romney campaign responded to Obama's attacks by doubling-down on Obama for failing to "get tough on China's trade practices."
"On issues important to the people of Ohio, President Obama has utterly failed to deliver," Romney Spokesperson Amanda Henneberg said in a statement. She also cited the loss of over half a million manufacturing jobs since Vice President Biden's 2008 campaign trip to the same Ohio town.
"Four years ago, Vice President Biden came to Maumee to decry the national debt, which was then $8 trillion," she said. "Today, the Obama-Biden administration has presided over an unprecedented explosion in our national debt, which is now approaching $16 trillion. Meanwhile, America has lost over half a million manufacturing jobs since President Obama took office, and he has broken his campaign promise to get tough on China’s trade practices."
Accuweather said the temperature in Maurnee, Ohio, where Obama spoke, was 88 but felt like 93. But the high temperatures didn’t appear to bother Obama, who said the heat is “what summer's supposed to feel like.” He wiped sweat from his forehead several times with a white cloth, and seemed energized by the crowd.
Obama paused once to respond to a woman who asked about the first lady, shouting, “Where's Michelle?”
“Where's Michelle?” he laughed. “I know I'm second fiddle. I'll have Michelle come back sometime. Michelle says hi.”
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney noted ahead of the speech that the area surrounding Maurnee, a suburb of Toledo, was disproportionately affected by the Chinese auto tariffs. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) accompanied Obama.
“I think it underscores the president’s commitment to American companies and American workers," Carney told reporters of the U.S. action against China, according to a White House pool report.
The White House was also looking to draw a comparison between Obama's stance on China and Romney's criticism of the country. Obama in his speech, as he has before, described the election as a choice between his “vision” for the country and that of Romney as well as his “allies in Congress.”
Romney has promised that on “day one” of his presidency he will “stand up” to China on currency manipulation. He has criticized Obama as soft on China, but Carney said the pace of the Obama administration's actions has been double that of the previous administration.
Carney denied that the decision to take action against China was a political one.
“This is an action that has been in development for quite a long time,” he said. “It can't suddenly be a political action because happens during the campaign.”
This story was last updated at 4:58 p.m.