Things have been bad for President Barack Obama.
Bad website. Broken promises. Tanking polling numbers.
So with all the controversy swirling around him over the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the twice-elected Democrat slipped back into campaign mode, telling an audience of a few hundred at a Cleveland steel mill yesterday that the American auto industry he helped save led to resurgence in steel and manufacturing.
“We made some tough choices,” Obama said at ArcelorMittal, an iconic Cleveland factory that was closed for months in 2008 but has prospered since. “We rescued and retooled the American auto industry; it saved more than a million jobs.
“The story of this plant is the story of America the last five years.”
Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal is the world’s largest steel producer. The company’s Cleveland facility, which sells roughly half of its steel to the auto industry, has 1,500 workers. It recently added 150 jobs and has poured $55 million into a blast-furnace upgrade.
Plagued by a 39 percent job approval and a troubled rollout of his signature health-care law, Obama clearly wanted to change some of the narrative. He celebrated recent news that the U.S. produced more oil in October than it imported for the first time since 1995, and he said some of his new energy standards led to lower energy costs for some manufacturers.
Obama even cited shrinking federal deficits, though he didn’t mention one of the main causes: sequestration (which he has opposed).
“That’s what all these tough decisions are about: reversing the forces that have hurt the middle class for a long, long time. I didn’t run for president to go back to where we were.”
But the Commerce Department said yesterday that the American trade deficit grew by about $3 billion to $41.8 billion in September, and the U.S. trade deficit with China was a record-high $30.5 billion — bad news for the steel industry.
Also, from August 2012 through last August, the multi-county metropolitan area of Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor suffered the worst job loss in the U.S., with 7,900 jobs gone. Last month, Standard & Poor’s downgraded Cuyahoga County’s credit rating.
Unemployment in Cuyahoga County is 7.3 percent — the same as the entire state.
“President Obama came to the right state to highlight a better and growing economy,” Ohio Republican spokesman Chris Schrimpf said. “Ohio’s unemployment rate is down significantly since 2011, and the state has added over 160,000 private-sector jobs.”
By Joe Vardon - By The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)
©2013 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)
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