The Obama campaign said the president planned to highlight his record on China during his Wednesday visit to Bowling Green State and Kent State universities. The campaign said the president has brought more trade cases against China in one term than President George W. Bush did in two.
The Obama administration filed a complaint this month with the World Trade Organization over Chinese subsidies to its auto and auto parts industries, the latest in a series of actions dating back to 2009 to protest what U.S. manufacturers say are the unfair advantages China gives its own companies.
Romney is promising an aggressive course on China as well. In particular, he has vowed to issue an executive order in his first day in office labeling China a currency manipulator, a designation that would trigger negotiations between the two countries and could ultimately lead to U.S. trade sanctions against China. The Obama administration has not been willing to take that step, which is opposed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Ohio's automobile and manufacturing industries compete with their Chinese peers, leading to widespread resentment over perceived trade transgressions by Chinese companies and their government. The issue has emerged as a central theme in House races, as well as in the state's competitive Senate race.
For Romney, Ohio was fraught because of the state's better-than-average economy. The jobless rate in Ohio stands at 7.2 percent - almost a full percentage point lower than the national average. Romney and other Republicans credit Ohio's Republican governor, John Kasich, but the good news undermines Romney's pitch that Obama's policies aren't working.
Obama's visit on Wednesday marks his 13th trip to Ohio so far this year, his campaign said. And as Romney was making his way to Ohio on Tuesday, Obama unveiled a new campaign ad titled "Fair Share" that seeks to remind voters that Romney paid a lower tax rate in 2011 - just over 14 percent - than many middle-class families. The ad will air in Ohio and seven other competitive states.
Romney has visited the state 10 times since May 1, his campaign said, with an additional seven visits during the primary campaign.
Democrats, hoping to neutralize Romney's Ohio swing with a bus tour of their own, worked to keep alive comments Romney made in a secretly recorded video about how almost half of Americans see themselves as victims and are unwilling to take responsibility for their lives. They also dispatched former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland to make the case that Romney is "writing off the middle class."