June 18th, 2010
09:12 AM ET
5 years ago

Obama heads back to Ohio to tout stimulus

President Obama on Friday will make his eighth trip to Ohio since assuming the presidency.
President Obama on Friday will make his eighth trip to Ohio since assuming the presidency.

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama heads back to Ohio Friday, his eighth trip to the politically important state since assuming the presidency a year and a half ago.

The mission for this latest visit is to help kick off what the White House calls "Recovery Summer," a six week long push to highlight what the administration says will be a summer and fall of job creation fueled by a surge in federal stimulus spending across the country. Obama travels to Columbus, Ohio, to mark the groundbreaking of what's touted as the 10,000 Recovery Act road project to get underway.

The president was last in Ohio on May 18, when he defended the federal stimulus and tore into political opponents for what he claimed is political hypocrisy and a defense of failed policies. Obama spoke at a steel pipe plant in Youngstown, Ohio that used funds from the Recovery Act to add more than 300 jobs.

Obama's first visit to Ohio as president, on March 6 of last year, was also to tout the stimulus. The president attended a police class graduation in Columbus that was made possible in part due to federal funding from the Recovery Act.

The stimulus, which is formally known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, was designed to stimulate the country's economy by increasing federal government spending and cutting taxes at a total cost to the government of $862 billion.

No Republicans in the House and only three in the Senate voted in favor of the bill. The stimulus was initially believed to have a price tag of $787 billion but earlier this year the Congressional Budget Office hiked its forecast for how much the stimulus will add to the nation's deficit, raising its estimate by $75 billion.

Obama returned on July 23 of last year to speak to voters at a townhall in Shaker Heights and made a third visit on September 7 to attend an AFL-CIO Labor Day picnic in Cincinnati, and returned a week later to speak about the economy at a GM plant in Lordstown.

In January, Obama met with voters at a community college in Elyria, Ohio, in the northeast part of the Buckeye State. The townhall meeting, which included workers and business owners, focused on putting more Americans back to work, and was part of what the administration calls the "White House to Main Street Tour."

In March this year, in a further push for congressional passage of his health care overhaul, the president spoke out on health insurance in Strongsville, outside of Cleveland.

While job creation is a top issue across the country, it's especially important in Ohio, where the most recent data put the state unemployment level at 10.9 percent.

Ohio is a crucial state in presidential elections. Obama won Ohio by 5 points over Republican Sen. John McCain in the 2008 election. The most recent polls in Ohio indicate that Obama's approval rating on the job he's doing as president stands around 45 percent.

Ohio also has some high profile contests this November's midterm elections, including governor and senator. In the gubernatorial contest, incumbent Democrat Ted Strickland faces a tough re-election battle against his Republican challenger, former Rep. John Kasich.

The Republicans are hoping to hold on to the seat of retiring Sen. George Voinovich. Surveys suggest a close race between the GOP nominee, former Rep. and Bush administration budget director Rob Portman, and the Democratic nominee, Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher.

Republicans noted that Fisher didn't team up with the president the last two times Obama was in Ohio. Both Fisher and Strickland are scheduled to appear at Friday's event.

–White House Producer White House Xuan Thai contributed to this story

–Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn


Filed under: Ohio • President Obama • Stimulus • Stimulus bill
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Capt. Snarky

    I'd think that the people of Ohio, desperate for jobs that they may be, would tire of hearing the President's lies over and over.

    Perhaps the President could set up a satellite White House in Ohio and save us the jet fuel costs of traveling there. Not to mention his carbon footprint.

    Maybe the declining enrollment at his "mainstreet meet-n-greets" will convince him that the people aren't listening anymore and he can then stay in D.C. and get some work done.

    Maybe one of the Main Street persons can hand him a Cliff Notes on how to govern and lead.

    June 18, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  2. The Man In Charge

    Did someone in the White House forget to inform Mr. Obama the oil leak is still happening? Now the focus in on a 2nd Stimulus? What a great leader we have in Mr. Obama!

    June 18, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  3. doug

    This nothing but 24?7 politics from the President, battleground state, tells the whole story. Please create jobs, Mr. President, real ones.

    June 18, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  4. demmie

    if you have to "Sell" us on whether it has worked or not, chances are that it hasnt worked

    June 18, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  5. Bill from GA

    Somebody get him a chart showing job losses when he took office and job gains now. Stand in front of that when you talk.

    A lot of Repugs say the Stimulus was a failure, but facts is facts, and 750,000 jobs lost is a lot worse than even only 41,000 real jobs gained last month.

    June 18, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  6. Ellen from Ohio

    Why is Obama still running his presidential campaign? I was under the impression that he won the 2008 election! Can't we get to work now?

    June 18, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
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