NILES - Less than 24 hours before President Barack Obama was scheduled to speak at an invitation-only event at Dobbins Elementary School in Poland, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and current Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal stopped in Niles to talk up his opponent.
The surrogates for presumptive Republican nominee, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney moved across Ohio and Pennsylvania in advance to Obama's "Betting On America" campaign bus tour. Thursday they spoke outside Eastwood Field prior to a Mahoning Valley Scrappers game.
"Gov. Jindal and I are traveling across Ohio to provide some balance to the message that President Obama is trying to convey in Ohio," Pawlenty said. "We should bet on America, but we certainly should not double down on his failed presidency."
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, on stage, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal each spoke Thursday during campaign stop at the Eastwood Mall Complex in Niles. Photo by Raymond L. Smith
The president's bus tour which started Thursday in Maumee and crossed northern Ohio with a series of grassroots campaign stops.
Poland's visit will be the fourth and final stop in the state before the president heads to Pennsylvania to speak at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
Obama's campaign is emphasizing rebuilding the economy through investing in education, energy, innovation, infrastructure and reforms in the tax code.
Pawlenty said Obama broke most of the promises he made when he was a candidate.
"He said he would take the out-of-control federal deficit and cut it in half during his first term," Pawlenty said. "He did not cut it in half, he nearly tripled it."
The former governor also suggested that president's promise to lower unemployment to 5.6 percent was a failure.
"It didn't go down," Pawlenty said. "Across the country it rose to seven, eight, nine percent or higher."
Pawlenty said Ohio and the country deserve better.
"Gov. Romney's message is it will be better when he is elected president," Pawlenty said. "We need to get President Barack Obama out of office."
Jindal said the president's message four years ago of hope and change has become "divide and blame."
"This election may be one of the most important elections in our lifetime," he said.
Neither man would talk about the possibility of working as part of a Romney administration, either as vice president or in any other position.
State Sen. Robert Hagan, D-Youngstown, said the president is working hard to keep his promises to Ohioans and to the nation.
"He has helped us with the bail out of the auto industry," Hagan said. "Saving American auto industry jobs not only helped Lordstown workers, but people in related industries.
"It had a ripple effect across our country," he said.
David Green, president of United Auto Workers Local 1714 at the GM Lordstown Complex, said he and thousands of other auto industry workers likely would not have jobs if the Obama administration had not been as supportive in saving the auto industry.
"That was a big feat in itself," Green said of the auto sector bail out.
At the rally, Romney supporters said they were interested in the nation moving in a different direction.
"We are tired of President Obama's failed policies," said Nick Santucci of Howland.
Santucci, a teen, described Pawlenty as a great role model for young conservatives and a good Christian.
"He's a great leader," Santucci said. "His record in Minnesota is superb."
John Hull Jr. of Hubbard, took his children, Edward, John Hull III and Allysa, to meet the Republicans.
"With the way things are going with the country, we have to get Obama out of office," Hull said. "The economy is tanking, and everything he said he was going to do has been backfiring on us."
Hull is running for Trumbull County commissioner.
Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill liked seeing the governors in the Mahoning Valley and speaking for the Romey campaign.
"I think Gov. Romney would do a good job," Hill said. "The Valley does carry a lot of weight as far as the votes. There are a lot of conservative people in the Valley."