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Election Will Decide Nation’s Economic Fate, Says President Obama

Defending his economic policies, President Barack Obama said Thursday he was betting that Americans wouldn’t lose interest or heart in the upcoming election despite a political stalemate in Congress. He said the next election would set the country’s economic outlook for the next decade and beyond.

President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama (Roger L. Wollenberg, Getty Images)

Kicking off a two-day bus tour of northern Ohio and western Pennsylvania, Obama described a political system at a crossroads and argued that his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, would pursue economic policies that favor the wealthy at the expense of the middle class. The president said he was willing to work with “anybody who believes that we’re in this together.”

“I’m not a Democrat first, I’m an American first,” Obama said at a quintessential campaign scene, an early 19th-century museum complex dotted with red-white-and-blue bunting and American flags.

Holding his first campaign event since the Supreme Court’s decision a week ago to uphold his health care law, Obama defended his sweeping changes to the system.

“The law I passed is here to stay,” he said. “It is going to make the vast majority of Americans more secure.”

Obama sought to draw attention to the economies in both states that have been helped by a stronger auto industry, noting that a Jeep plant in nearby Toledo was hiring more workers.

Obama said the experience in both states, where joblessness is below the national average, can be replicated across the country. Making sure that it does, he said, is why he is running for a second term.

“There are some folks who are betting that you will lose interest, that are betting that somehow you are going to lose heart. But here you are in the heat,” Obama said, wearing a gray short-sleeved shirt on a steamy, sunny day that forced him to wipe away sweat that dripped down his face. “I’m betting you’re not going to lose interest. I’m betting you’re not going to lose heart.

I still believe on you, I’m betting on you. And the country is betting on you Ohio.”

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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