, TOLEDO, Ohio, Sep 27 – A flurry of polls showing widening leads for President Barack Obama on Wednesday heaped pressure on Mitt Romney to use their first head-to-head debate next week to launch a major comeback bid.
Fresh surveys showed Obama cementing his advantage in the key state battlegrounds that will decide the US election on November 6, and putting clear distance between himself and his Republican challenger nationwide.
Obama aides denied Republican claims they were celebrating too early but spokeswoman Jen Psaki did say that Romney’s path to the White House appeared to be “narrowing.”
“We’d rather be us than them,” she said.
Romney’s fading numbers appeared to reflect damage from the release last week of a secretly filmed video in which he said 47 percent of Americans would vote for Obama because they were dependent on government and paid no taxes.
The former Massachusetts governor softened his tone on Wednesday, saying that his “heart aches” for people struggling to find work and the government “has a role” in taking care of people who are hurting.
But he added: “we’re going to insist these people have the opportunity for work if they can – if they’re able bodied – because we’re not going to create a society of dependence on government.”
Both men duelled for votes of blue-collar workers in the key swing state of Ohio on Wednesday, with Romney appearing with native son and golf legend Jack Nicklaus, and Obama mocking his foe’s vow to stand up to Beijing.
“He’s been talking tough on China,” Obama said at his own two Ohio events, accusing his challenger of investing some of his personal wealth in firms that outsource jobs to China.
“When you hear this newfound outrage, when you see these ads he’s running promising to get tough on China, it feels a lot like that fox saying, ‘You know, we need more secure chicken coops.'”
“I mean, it’s just not credible.”
“When you hear this newfound outrage, when you see these ads he’s running promising to get tough on China, it feels a lot like that fox saying, ‘You know, we need more secure chicken coops” – Obama.
Romney lambasted Obama for failing to prevent the loss of 582,000 manufacturing jobs in the past four years and placed much of the blame for the industry’s decline on “competition from overseas, which is often unfair.”
“From day one I will label China as a currency manipulator,” Romney told supporters at a spring wire plant in suburban Cleveland, in the second of this three rallies in Ohio Wednesday.
“They must not steal jobs.”
Romney also insisted “we’re going to win Ohio,” despite a Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS News poll Wednesday showing him down 10 points in a state no Republican has ever lost and still won the White House.
A Washington Post poll put Romney’s deficit in the state at eight points, and his position in Ohio appears especially alarming for Republicans as early voting begins in the state next week.