POLAND - President Barack Obama energized an already boisterous crowd of supporters in a packed gymnasium at Dobbins Elementary School here Friday morning while establishing a staunch defense of the last 3 1/2 years and outlining his vision of a second term.
U.S. Rep. Timothy J. Ryan, D-Niles, warmed up the crowd before Obama took the stage as he stumped through northern Ohio campaigning for re-election Thursday and Friday.
"Barack Obama stuck his neck out and the Mahoning Valley is back to work," Ryan said. "The president of the United States of America cares about us. This president is on our side."
Obama spoke for about 40 minutes in Poland after visiting a Boardman food manufacturer. He said his vision of America is that if people work hard, they will make it.
"The idea is that if you are willing to work, take responsibility, stick with it, then ultimately hard work will go to work," he said.
"We learned this morning that businesses created 84,000 new jobs last month," the president said. "Overall, we've seen the creation of 4.4 million new jobs over the past 28 months, including 500,000 new manufacturing jobs."
President Barack Obama holds a baby during his visit to Dobbins Elementary School in Poland on Friday. The stop was part of a two-day bus tour through Ohio and Pennsylvania.
"It is really a simple idea," he said. "Their (Republicans') idea is if we spend trillions of dollars more on tax cuts, most of which will go to some of the wealthiest individuals in the country, and we eliminate regulations, then wealthy investors will do their part, and the benefits would spread.
"It isn't right," he said. "That kind of top-down economics has never worked."
Mark Munroe, chairman of the Mahoning County Republican Party, however, was quick to counter that assessment.
"The job numbers released today confirm that Obama's policies have only created more pain and suffering ... not more jobs," Munroe said. "Poverty is up, food stamp usage is at an all-time high, our kids can't find jobs, and the president has added $5 trillion to our national debt."
Munroe even said the the auto bailout had its dark side, with 21,000 Delphi retirees not getting their retirement benefits, which the president continued to tout before the crowd that included local United Auto Worker leaders.
People argued allowing the auto industry to go bankrupt without government intervention when "more than 1 million jobs were on the line," he said.
"We said, we are going to bet on the American worker and on American industry," he said. "And now Chrysler is back and GM is the No. 1 car maker in the world. That's my theory."
The president said what happened with the auto industry can happen with other industries.
"The future of American manufacturing can still be forged in places like Youngstown and Cleveland and Pittsburgh," he said. "I'm going to make sure that happens.
"I want to sell more goods that are stamped with three proud words: Made in America."
Obama also said he wants to change the tax code so the nation will stop giving tax breaks for companies shipping jobs overseas.
"I want to give tax breaks to companies that are investing right here in Poland, Boardman, in Cincinnati and in the United States in America."
He also spoke about Summer Garden Food Manufacturing, the Boardman company he toured earlier in they day.
"Those are the kinds of companies that started as family businesses and keep growing and expanding to become medium-sized businesses and then they become big businesses," he said. "America has the most competitive and productive workers on earth."
And he touted his health care reform that the Supreme Court recently upheld as constitutional.
"I'm proud of the work we did to get the health care law passed," he said. "I'll work with anybody who wants to continue to work to continue to improve this law. But it was the right thing to do."
Obama said people who already have health care should not be afraid of the new law.
"The only thing this does is to make your health insurance more secure," he said.
It will help people who don't have health insurance to get insurance for the first time at affordable price, Obama said.
"We know it works, because the guy I'm running against tried it in Massachusetts and it is working just fine," he said of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. "Even though now he denies it."
But Munroe noted after the speech that in spite of Obama's polished rhetoric, his presidency has been a failure.
"Obama's proposed solutions are more of the same: more federal government meddling in every aspect of our lives," Munroe said. "The feds have taken more and wasted more causing most of our economic woes. It's time to rely on the American people to solve our problems, not Washington. Mitt Romney will lead the way."