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Obama kicks off campaign, Romney close behind in polls

CYRIL JOSH BARKER Amsterdam News Staff | 5/10/2012, 3:07 p.m.
Obama targets swing states Ohio, Florida, Michigan

It's official.

President Barack Obama kicked off his re-election campaign to serve a second term as president of the United States. Speaking at rallies in Columbus, Ohio, and Richmond, Va., Obama gave a full rundown of his accomplishments in office and the pitfalls of Republican candidate Mitt Romney.

"Now we face a choice. For the last few years, the Republicans who run this Congress have insisted that we go right back to the policies that created this mess," he said in Ohio. "This time, they want even bigger tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. This time, they want even deeper cuts to things like education and Medicare, and research and technology."

Accompanied by chants of "Four More Years," Obama painted his opponent as concerned about corporate America, even calling Romney out on his experience and being out of touch with the nation.

"Governor Romney is a patriotic American who has raised a wonderful family, and he has much to be proud of. He's run a large financial firm, and he's run a state. But I think he has drawn the wrong lessons from those experiences. He sincerely believes that if CEOs and wealthy investors like him make money, the rest of us will automatically prosper as well," Obama said.

He added that Romney wants to spend trillions on tax cuts for the rich and raise taxes on millions of working families. Going with his one-word campaign slogan, "Forward," Obama said that it simply outlines the direction he wants to bring the nation.

"It's one word to basically encapsulate the campaign we're working to run," a campaign offical said in one report. "We want to keep moving forward. We don't want to go back to the economic policies of the past."

According to polls this month by Quinnipiac University, in the swing states of Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania, Obama and Romney are close. All together, 45 percent of voters in those states said they would vote for Obama if the election were held today. In the same poll, 41 percent of voters said they would vote for Romney.

"Governor Mitt Romney has closed President Barack Obama's leads in Ohio and Florida to the point that those two states are now essentially tied, a turnaround from the end of March when the president enjoyed leads in those key states," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.