Obama dives into poll campaign, hits Romney
Supporters cheer President Barack Obama during a campaign rally at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond on May 5. AP photoU.S. President Barack Obama used his first rallies of the 2012 campaign on May 5 to attack Republican Mitt Romney for learning the “wrong lessons” as a business executive and promised to move the economy forward if he wins a second term.
Obama formally launched his Chicago-based re-election effort last year, but the Democratic president’s own campaigning has been confined to fundraisers while the Republican Party whittled down possible nominees to run against him. That changed this weekend. Addressing spirited crowds in Ohio and Virginia, two states that could be critical to keeping the White House, Obama tried to regain the momentum that fueled his 2008 victory while sharpening his focus on the presumptive Republican nominee.
Obama, dressed in a button-down shirt with no jacket or tie, called Romney, a former Massachusetts governor and private equity executive, a “patriotic American” whose policies would not help the middle class.
“He has run a large financial firm and he has 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,” Reuters quoted Obama as saying in Columbus, Ohio.
During the rallies, Obama said he was not satisfied with the country’s economic progress, but he said Romney, whom he called a champion of congressional Republicans, would make things worse by cutting taxes for the very wealthy and espousing the mistaken view that bigger profits lead to better jobs.
“We are not turning back the clock, we are moving forward,” Obama said, seeking to revive the political magic that swept him to power in 2008, and to confound new signs that the recovery may be running out of steam. “Forward” is the Obama campaign’s latest slogan, and people at the Ohio and Virginia rallies held signs with that word above their heads.
With his wife, Michelle Obama, by his side and Air Force One as a campaign plane, Obama laid out the general thesis of his campaign: that Romney’s policies would send the United States back to the era that started the financial crisis and recession.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Obama was now running on “hype and blame” because his record as president had been thin and because he failed to live up to the “hope and change” slogan he campaigned on in 2008. “Obama talks a lot about moving forward but has he forgotten he’s been president for the past three years?” Priebus said. The president’s approval rating generally sits in the high 40s, just below the 50 percent threshold that presidents need to feel confident about re-election.
CLINTON TO PRESS INDIA ON IRAN OIL IMPORTS
KOLKATA – The Associated Press
Urging India to reduce the oil it imports from Iran tops U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s agenda as she starts two days of talks with Indian officials. India has huge energy needs to fuel its rapid growth but has made some progress in easing its dependence on Iranian oil. A senior official traveling with Clinton in Asia said the U.S. wants to see more. The official said the “trend lines are good” but “we really need to receive assurances that they are going to continue to make good progress.” Clinton arrived in Kolkata yesterday after visits to China and Bangladesh. She is expected to head today to New Delhi for talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The official said India had recently stepped up imports of oil from Saudi Arabia to make up for the reduction in Iranian oil and that the U.S. was eager to see the Indians explore other alternatives.