WINTERSVILLE - No Republican presidential candidate since 1856 has won election to the White House without carrying Ohio, and that's a trend former President Bill Clinton said he is trying to make sure continues.
Surrounded by about 1,500 people, Clinton delivered 40-minute speech Thursday at Indian Creek High School that compared President Barack Obama's four years in office to what Republican candidate Mitt Romney wants to do if elected.
"Why support the president? His arguments are clear. The economy is going in the right direction," Clinton said, adding the unemployment rate has dropped more under Obama since Clinton himself was in office.
LOCAL APPEARANCE — Former President Bill Clinton delivered a campaign speech in support of President Barack Obama Thursday at Indian Creek High School in Wintersvillle.
-- Michael D. McElwain
OBAMA SUPPORTER — World War II veteran Andy DiPalma, 87, of Steubenville was among the area residents who attended Thursday’s rally in Wintersville. He said he likes what Obama's done since he took office four years ago.
-- Linda Harris
T-SHIRT STATEMENT — Russ Boggs of Annapolis had T-shirts made for himself and his children, Russ and Athena, left, which they wore during former President Bill Clinton’s campaign stop for President Barack Obama Thursday at Indian Creek High School in Wintersville.
-- Mark Law
AUTOGRAPH — Barb Terry of Mingo Junction said getting former President Bill Clinton to autograph her sister-in-law’s memoir “means the world to me.” Clinton wrote the foreward for the book, “A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High.”
-- Linda Harris
"Romney all of a sudden cares about you. 'I'm a jobs guy,'" Clinton said quoting and sometimes mocking Romney.
Clinton said Romney will increase the national debt with his ideas on tax cuts.
"If someone hired you to fill a hole, would you make it deeper before you start to fill it in?" Clinton asked.
The former president said Romney's tax cuts would increase the national debt, which Clinton believes will result in taxes being raised, especially on middle-income Americans.
Clinton called Romney's budget proposals "hide and seek," and said they would result in cuts to Medicare. He said working parents of children born with medical conditions would have to quit work to get benefits for their children.
"It will hurt the country and make us weaker," Clinton said.
In addressing Romney's statement that 47 percent of Americans don't pay income taxes, Clinton said 60 percent of those people are working people with children. He said the tax code allows those working parents not to pay taxes, adding it helps those people avoid poverty.
Clinton said in the 32 months since the end of the recession, 5.3 million private jobs have been created by the Obama administration, compared to 2.6 million jobs created in seven years under former President George W. Bush. He said no president can fix the economy in four years, considering the condition of the economy. He said unemployment is now under 8 percent.
"It took 12 years after the Great Depression to get out of the Depression. Why would we want to sail back into the storm?" Clinton said.
He said manufacturing jobs have grown for the first time since the 1990s.
"We can bring manufacturing back to America."
Clinton cited 250,000 more jobs in Ohio in the auto industry. He said the auto industry was facing bankruptcy, which also would have had an impact on auto parts and suppliers to the industry.
"(Obama) saved 1 million jobs, with 250,000 more in Ohio, and Romney opposed it. It was the best decision of Obama in his first term," he said.
"When the state was facing economic ruin, Barack Obama had your back. You need to have his back today," Clinton said.
Clinton spoke about student loans and Obama's plans to have students pay back the loans based on a percentage of their income over 20 years.
Clinton said health care costs increased only 4 percent last year, the lowest in several years.
"We as Americans need to bring health care costs in line with inflation."
Clinton said companies can't give workers pay raises because of the increases in health care costs.
"We can't allow this to happen. This is another reason to elect Obama."
Clinton believes Obama did a much better job in his first term than he has been given credit for, especially concerning the economy.
"We are coming out of this. I'm telling you that you are going to feel it. The last thing we need to do is to go back to a policy we know will fail, knowing that the debt is going to be a problem. Are we going to adopt another hide-and-seek budget? I don't think so. Let's vote for four more years of a strategy that is building a strategy for 21st century prosperity.
"Tell the people that aren't here that they don't have to give up hope.
"All your tomorrows don't have to be like yesterday. We can make a new tomorrow," he said.
"For 200 years people have been saying America's been washed up. People have been counting this country out for 200 years. Every single soul that has done it has lost money. I'm betting on you and America's future and Barack Obama," he said.
Clinton spent time after his speech shaking hands with people in the front row.
Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland introduced Clinton by saying the former president is the most recognized and respected world leader that took the country's deficit and turned it into a surplus and a balanced budget and worked to pay off the debt.
Strickland, like Clinton, mocked Romney's 47 percent comment.
"Most of us are part of the 47 percent, are we not? We are proud Americans. I will not support a man who looks down his nose and talks disrespectful. He talks of us as takers and not givers," Strickland said.
The former Democratic governor said the 47 percent is made up of veterans who served their country and senior citizens who worked and paid into Social Security.
Strickland said Romney as governor of Massachusetts was against coal.
"Coal miners who vote for Mitt Romney are like chickens who vote for Col. Sanders, and we know what Col. Sanders does to chickens."
(Law can be contacted at email@example.com.)