Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY
HILLIARD, Ohio-President Obama slammed Mitt Romney on Friday, charging that the former governor was misleading American voters about the American auto bailout.
In his first direct criticism of Romney television and radio ads aired in Ohio and Michigan that imply that Chrysler will move jobs to China and that under Obama's watch General Motors had cut 15,000 jobs, Obama accused Romney of "scaring hard working Americans to scare up votes."
Romney's presidential campaign has stood by the ads, despite criticism from Democrats and the automakers. The ads follow Romney's claim at a rally in Ohio last week that Chrysler is moving Jeep production to China. Chrysler says no jobs are being moved.
"You got folks who work at a Jeep plant who have been calling their employers worried, asking 'Is it true that our jobs are being shipped to China,'' Obama said at rally at the Franklin County Fairgrounds this morning. "The reason they are making these calls is because Governor Romney ran an ad that says so. Except it's not true. Everbody knows it's not true. The car company themselves told Gov, Romney to knock it off."
The ad includes images of cars being crushed and a narrator says Obama "sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China. Mitt Romney will fight for every American job." The Romney ad doesn't mention that Chrysler is retaining and expanding its North America Jeep operations, as it weighs breaking into China.
The Romney campaign has stood by the ads, despite criticism from Democrats and the automakers. The ads follow Romney's claim at a rally in Ohio last week that Chrysler is moving Jeep production to China. Chrysler says no jobs are being moved.
Earlier this week, both Vice President Biden and Bill Clinton criticized Romney, but Obama' remarks here in Hilliard marks the first time he's taken on Romney for the ads.
Obama makes two more stops in Ohio on Friday with stops in Springfield and Lima, both in counties that he lost in 2008 to Sen. John McCain.
He's also slated to make stops in Mentor, Columbus and Cincinnati in the final days of the campaign, underscoring how crucial the Buckeye State is to the president's reelection strategy.