Vice President Biden visits Ohio in latest campaign appearance for Democratic governor

By Thomas J. Sheeran, AP
Monday, October 4, 2010

Biden stumps for Dem incumbent in Ohio gov race

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Vice President Joe Biden campaigned Monday in a closely watched Ohio gubernatorial race, telling a crowd of several hundred that President Barack Obama needs allies like Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland.

Making his second visit to the state in two weeks, Biden spoke at a window-frame manufacturing plant in a Youngstown suburb in the heavily Democratic northeastern part of the state.

“We need Ted. The stakes are high,” Biden told audience members as they crowded among shipping pallets. “We have to have allies that believe the same things we do.”

The campaign swing came amid a backdrop of 13 percent unemployment in Youngstown, where the once-powerful steel industry has given way to boarded-up homes and troubled neighborhoods.

“People are angry,” Biden acknowledged. But “we’re beginning to turn things around” and the economy would be harmed by Republican leadership.

Still, too many people are struggling and without jobs, he said.

Biden and Strickland shook hands with several dozen diners at a restaurant in Youngstown before visiting the plant in Struthers.

The governor acknowledged that Ohio has “gone through some tough times,” and blamed “a recession not of our making.” He said his administration has worked to create jobs in growing industries, including wind power.

Strickland is in a feverish race to retain his post against Republican John Kasich, a former congressman. A New York Times/CBS News poll last week showed their support about even.

But Strickland said Monday, “The momentum, my friends, is with us.”

At a news conference in Columbus, Kasich told reporters that Strickland has “cratered Ohio’s economy.” He accused Strickland of “raiding every piggy bank he could find and … going to Washington with a tin cup.”

Kasich said he finds the governor’s claims that he cut taxes, streamlined state government and worked to fix the Ohio economy laughable.

When Strickland supported postponing an income tax cut of 4.2 percent last year that Ohioans had been promised, Republicans said that was a tax increase. Democrats said it wasn’t.

Kasich said, “There is no way that if Ted Strickland is re-elected as governor that he will not raise taxes again.”

He said he will support tax cuts if elected.

Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, who watched Biden work a dining room crowd, said the party must motivate indifferent Democrats by explaining that the economy might be worse under GOP leadership. He said unemployment could have been 20 percent in Youngstown if Obama hadn’t helped the auto industry, including a General Motors Corp. assembly plant in nearby Lordstown.

“No one’s happy right now, obviously, because it (the economy) is still not where we want it to be,” Ryan said.

Associated Press Writer Ann Sanner contributed to this report from Columbus.

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