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Obama To Campaign In Ohio, Another Swing State


On a Monday, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.


And I'm Renee Montagne.

President Obama will be in the swing state of Ohio again today. He'll be holding his first big town hall meeting of the campaign in Cincinnati. And the president will likely continue his campaign attack against Mitt Romney's record of what Democrats characterize as sending jobs overseas while he was the head of Bain Capital. Over the weekend, the president said he would not apologize for those attacks.

Cokie Roberts is here, as she is most Mondays, with some analysis. Good morning.


MONTAGNE: Now, not only is the Obama campaign not apologizing for its attacks on Mitt Romney, there's a new ad that just came out, doubling down on those outsourcing claims. What's going on here?

ROBERTS: Well, the ad shows Mitt Romney singing "America The Beautiful" - somewhat off key, I might ad - with words on the screen of places he's supposed to sent American jobs when he was head of Bain Capital. Look, it's not complicated, the Obama campaign thinks these ads are working - and they've had focus groups that show that. And it's all an attempt, Renee, to define Romney before the public knows him. You know, we've been paying attention to this campaign because we have to, but most people have lives. And the idea is, by the time they meet Romney at the conventions, they will already have a negative view of him. And that's just going to keep hammering home.

MONTAGNE: And even though Romney surrogates point to the tied public opinion polls to argue that, in fact, those Obama attacks are not working, some Republicans are calling on Romney and his team to be tougher in its response to the president. So, what's the worry there?

ROBERTS: Well, they're worried that it is working. And looking at polls that show a large majority of people, at this point, thinking Obama will win - even if they say they're not for him. And that can be a dis-positive(ph), despite job numbers and consumer confidence and all of that. You know, Republican governors - all governors were meeting this weekend. And of course, you get a bunch of politicians in one place and they all have views about what you should be doing. So they were saying, you know, Romney needs to come out with a bold program, or he needs to pick his vice presidential candidate now, to change the subject. Romney's response was to come out with an ad of his own, which ran on all the Sunday shows, that shows pundits saying that Obama is running a nasty campaign and asking, whatever happened to hope and change? And the Oba - the Romney surrogates are calling it a Chicago style campaign. Frankly, Renee, I have seen these kind of ads before, going after process in campaigns, and I've never known them to work. Voters expect candidates to wage down and dirty campaigns and it doesn't seem to signify much with them.

MONTAGNE: Well, talking about Republican governors, one Republican governor - publicly, over the weekend - agreed with conservative pundits, who are calling on Romney to release his income taxes, get that issue off the table. Do you think it's going to happen?

ROBERTS: I think, eventually it has to happen. And from his perspective, it should happen sooner, rather than later - and take whatever hit there is, revealed in those tax returns. Look, we already know he's a really rich guy, and we know that he paid a low percentage of income taxes in the one year of filings that he has released. And we know he has offshore accounts. But this all, sort of, dribbles out, making it much, much worse. And you know, what, again, I can never get over here, is that people think they can get away with this and somehow hide something. That's just not possible in the heat of a presidential campaign.

MONTAGNE: Cokie, thanks very much. Political analyst, Cokie Roberts. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Renee Montagne, one of the best-known names in public radio, is a special correspondent and host for NPR News.
Cokie Roberts was one of the 'Founding Mothers' of NPR who helped make that network one of the premier sources of news and information in this country. She served as a congressional correspondent at NPR for more than 10 years and later appeared as a commentator on Morning Edition. In addition to her work for NPR, Roberts was a political commentator for ABC News, providing analysis for all network news programming.