(CLEVELAND) — After a lavish Hawaiian holiday hiatus, President Obama resumes his campaign to try to claim the mantle of “warrior for the middle class” with a speech in Cleveland Wednesday, wasting no time after the Iowa Caucus to put his mark on the national political debate.
Visiting a suburban high school where he held a town hall meeting about his health care reform push two-and-a-half years ago, Obama will chart his course into the polarized political landscape of 2012, highlighting a philosophical divide with Republicans in Congress and on the campaign trail — a theme he first rolled out last fall.
Obama will redouble, “his commitment to do everything he can as president, working with Congress and independently from Congress, to grow the economy and create jobs, to protect the middle class, to expand it and to make the middle class more accessible to those who aspire to it,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Tuesday.
But the talking points aside, Obama’s visit to the Buckeye State — his fourth since announcing a bid for re-election in April — also underscores what his re-election campaign believes will be ground zero for a tough re-election battle in November.
Obama won Ohio by five points over John McCain in 2008, carrying 52 percent of the vote. But his support there has significantly waned — and the economy he promised to revive as a presidential contender continues to sputter under his watch.
Fifty-five percent of Ohioans in a Quinnipiac University poll last month said they disapproved of how Obama has handled his job. And in hypothetical general election match-ups with Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, Obama is statistically tied.
No candidate for president since 1960 has won a general election without carrying Ohio.
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