The major candidates for president have been crisscrossing the state during the past day. Both Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney are trying to convince voters to come around to their way of thinking. And, in some cases, they are enlisting the help of well-known people. Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles reports.
Golf legend Jack Nicklaus says he knows firsthand how hard it is for small businesses to make it these days. Nicklaus says the economy has taken its toll on his golf supply company.
Nicklaus: “The economy under the Obama administration has taken its toll on us. Our company hasn’t had an across the board salary increase in four years. And most employees have had their salaries reduced from 5 to 50 percent. Over the last 50 -- or last five, four years, I’ve been forced to let go 50 percent of my staff. These are not just people who have worked for me for years. They are people who’ve worked for me for decades. They have become an extension of our family and when you lose family, it hurts.”
Nicklaus says he’s supporting Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney because he has a plan to turn the economy around. At a rally outside Columbus, Nicklaus and Romney stand on the same stage in a high school gym, as Romney explains why he believes President Obama is taking the nation down the wrong path. Romney says he’ll crack down on unfair trade with China, make the nation energy independent, reduce government spending and reform education so that teachers unions won’t have as much pull as they do right now.
Romney: “I’m going to put our kids and the teachers and the parents first -- and the teachers union behind.”
Romney says he’ll change the course of the nation by focusing on one thing:
Romney: “My priority is jobs and I’ll make it happen.”
Romney says one way he’ll create jobs is through offering income tax breaks that will help small businesses. But he warns people who are not job creators that they might not see a big tax break.
Romney: “Don’t be expecting a huge cut in taxes because I’m also going to lower deductions and exemptions but by bringing rates down, we will be able to let small businesses keep more of their money so they can hire more people.”
LaBolt: “The truth is his budget mess has not added up.”
That’s Ben LaBolt, President Obama’s national press secretary. He says Romney’s tax plan would likely take away popular deductions and exemptions for middle class families.
LaBolt: “Independent analysts who’ve taken a look at this and said taxes on the average middle class family with kids would go up by $2,000 to pay for Mitt Romney’s tax cut for the wealthiest.”
LaBolt says, under President Obama’s plan, middle class families save an average of $3,600 a year, while the wealthiest Americans with incomes of $250,000 or more would pay more. But LaBolt says it’s important to remember that tax cuts like Romney promises do not create jobs.
LaBolt: “Well we have passed those tax cuts for the wealthiest before and it didn’t unleash the job creation that was promised. We passed those tax cuts in 2001 and 2003. It led to the slowest pace of job creation since World War Two and as you know, combined with stripping back oversight from Wall Street, it was a financial house of cards that collapsed in 2008 and devastated the middle class.”
Both President Obama and Mitt Romney say the economy is their top concern. And these days, both are making multiple trips to Ohio to explain the different ways in which they’d deal with it.