CINCINNATI — President Barack Obama's latest campaign visit to Ohio on Monday focused on an issue sensitive to a key industry in the swing state.
"The American auto industry has come roaring back," Obama said in Cincinnati, as his administration announced a trade enforcement case against China, aimed at what it calls illegal Chinese subsidies for its auto- and auto-part export industries. He said his administration's support for U.S. automakers has helped them rebound, but that he has been working to make sure they are competing evenly.
"When other countries don't play by the rules, we've done something about it," Obama said. He said the Chinese subsidies "directly harm working men and women on the assembly line in Ohio and Michigan." Ohio's auto assembly and auto parts plants employ more than 70,000 workers, and are linked to many more jobs across the state.
AK Steel worker Andrew Hounshell introduced Obama, praising him for supporting workers like those at his Middletown plant who make steel for automobiles such as the Ohio-made Chevrolet Cruzes.
"He is making sure we are playing by the same rules (as China)," Hounshell said.
Mitt Romney's campaign has run ads in Ohio criticizing the president and pledging that his Republican challenger would be tough on China. Romney's campaign said Monday Obama is making a "campaign-season move" that comes "too little, too late."
When Obama mentioned Romney going across Ohio in their hotly contested race for the state, there were boos from the Eden Park crowd estimated at 4,500 people.
"Don't boo. Vote," Obama urged.
Obama carried Hamilton County, where Cincinnati is, in 2008 as the first Democratic presidential candidate to do so since Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. Some supporters in the crowd said they are trying to make sure people who aren't as excited about the presidential race as they were in 2008 will still get out and vote.
"I see the same level of support, but not the same level of enthusiasm," said Cincinnati campaign volunteer Russel Durst, who tells people it's important to their hopes for a better economy to re-elect Obama.
"Never take anything for granted," said Bob Jones, 62, of suburban Forest Park. "I think he needs four more years to continue the recovery. We tend to be crisis-oriented, and this is a crisis."
From the rally, Obama headed to Columbus for a Monday afternoon park rally. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was in Columbus to lead a GOP rally.
Recent polls have indicated Obama leading narrowly in Ohio, a state likely to be crucial to Romney's hopes of unseating him.
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