>>> today in ohio before president obama and mitt romney ‘s back to back speeches on the economy, the brains at the romney campaign decided to make some noise. nbc news tweeted, the campaign bus is driving around president obama ‘s speech site honking its horn. mitt romney spoke first in cincinnati before a crowd of no more than 200 people, working without a teleprompter meant romney did not get into the specifics of his economic plan. oh, and the other reason he didn’t get into the specifics is that he knows he would lose ohio in a landslide if he did. so he tried to put some spin on the president’s speech.

>> he’s going to be a person of eloquence as he describes his plans for making the economy better. but don’t forget, he’s been president for 3 1/2 years and talk is cheap . actions speak very loud.

>> romney dids veer into a new version of his big hit , i like being able to fire people .

>> in my experience in thinking about people who i want to have work for me, whether it’s my doctor or the person that’s going to be painting the house, i want to make sure they did a good job the first time. and if they didn’t, i want someone who can’t can do a better job.

>> minutes after romney ‘s speech, president obama took the stage before a cheering crowd of 12500 people at a community college . the president wanted ohio to be ready for the bombardment of negative campaign ads that will fill that state.

>> the other side will spent billions of dollars on ads that will tell you the economy is bad, it’s all my fault, that i can’t fix it because i think government is always the answer or because i didn’t make a lot of money in the private sector and don’t understand it or because i’m in over my head or because i think everybody and everything is doing just fine. that’s what the scary voice in the ads will say. that’s not a plan to create jobs. it’s not a plan top grow the economy.

>> the president went into much detail, but summarized his plan for economic growth and economic fairness this way —

>> that’s my vision for america — education, energy, innovation, infrastructure, and a tax code focused on american job creation and balanced deficit reduction.

>> the president told ohio voters it is now up to them to break the stalemate in washington.

>> what is holding us back is a stalemate in washington between two fundamentally different views of which direction america should take. and this election is your chance to break that stalemate. this november you can provide a mandate for the change we need right now. you can move this nation forward and you can remind the world just again why the united states of america is still the greatest nation on earth. thank you.

>> i’m going to get into the very weirdest thing romney said in the speech, but my favorite substantive point he said was something that will be, i’m sure, ignored by all the political media until now. and that was, of course, the tax increase that he proposed. let’s listen to romney proposing a tax increase on day one.

>> well, on day one, i’ll label china a currency manipulator and that will allow me to apply tariffs where they steal property and jobs.

>> no uh that comes under the jurisdiction of the tax committee because they’re a sales tax paid by americans on chinese goods. a lex, it’s not every day that you hear a republican candidate for president saying on day one, i’ve got a sales tack increase for you.

>> yeah. it’s not every day that you hear a republican candidate trying to gin up enthusiasm at a pivotal point in his campaign by channelling anger, economic frustration at china. this romney day one, lawrence, day one based on the ads is going to be the longest day in history. i’m not quite sure it’s the kind of day we measure on the current calendar. apparently he’s going to do everything that day. he’s going to balance the deficit, repeal obamacare with something else, we don’t know what. he’s going to deal with our relationship with china. i mean, these are platitudes. you know, mitt romney has railed against the president’s lack of substance on these issues. he has offered us nothing in the way of actual policy prescriptions. aside from putting his arm around paul ryan ‘s budget plan. now, i think the president was masterful today in really wrapping mitt romney and the extreme wing of the republican party together and saying, in effect, these guys are outliars, they are even divorced from traditional republicans who have been great through the country through time. he channelled nixon. he talked about abe lincoln and talked about ronald reagan and positioned mitt romney as somebody who’s distinctly out of touch and has policies that will be incredibly detrimental to this country.

>> i agree the president was good and clear at outlying what is the romney economic plan. rockne didn’t bother to do that, really. let’s listen to how romney outlined the car.

>> they’ll cut $1 trillion from the part of the budget that includes education, job trainer to medical research and clean energy . it would also take away coverage from another 19 million americans who rely on medicaid. and they propose turning medicare into a voucher program which will shift more costs to seniors and eventually end the program as we know it. tens of millions of middle class families will end up paying higher taxes. many of you would end up paying higher taxes to pay for this other tax cut .

>> and ari, the truth of it is, the president was being way too fair there because he wasn’t factoring in that the republicans at the same time are promising to close the budget deficit , also cut taxes. if you’re to do that, you’re basically going to be closing down the federal government .

>> i think that’s about right. and that’s the whole problem here. there’s this language about the president being in over his head, but has alex wagner is saying so many of these plans are not detailed. there was the big fed study out last week that showed people in the bottom fifth saw their network go from about $1,500 down to 0 the past three years. if you have something set aside and you’re down to zero, you’re in a lot of trouble. 4 medical insurance and safety net , uh yo know, cutting that basically takes people and puts them one medical emergency away from bankruptcy or homelessness. i don’t mean to sound very dramatic from this, but this is very real. and that’s what they’re talking about doing, not targeting the middle or upper middle . these are not questions about tradeoffs. this is literally taking programs there for the neediest and trying to go right at them to. and basically a huge risk to people who need the most help right now.

>> it was a long speech, 54 minutes. those of us who have to watch it to review it and those in the hall are the ones that saw the whole thing. eand the president knows that. he doesn’t expect anyone to get through the whole thing. one of the passages that struck me a lot was he did something that indicates a kind of confidence in a campaign. he got to a point where he was saying if you agree with that, vote for the other guy. he got into a rhythm of go ahead and vote for h imif you agree with that and if you agree with that. and then he did a little chuckling challenge to the press saying i look forward to the media checking out the facts of how i, president obama , have described the romney plan.

>> i totally agree with you, lawrence. that stood out. also as part of that, this sort of shift in narrative. the president has been making a lot of “i” statements, “we” statements. this is the first speech where he said you, american voter, you have a chance to break this stalemate. the other thing that does is it gets people to buy into this election. there’s a lot of talk about dis disenfranchisement, lack of enthusiasm. and here was the president clearly laying out two incredibly different paths for the country and saying you, american voter, this is your country. this is your america . if you want one thing, go for the republicans. if you want the country that i am proposing, vote in november. this is the future and you are part of it and you have a chance to make a difference.

>> alex wagner and ari melmer, thank you.

>> you don’t want to miss the speech. we’re going to also go into why ohio is so important this year and every year. joe kleine is in ohio along with nina turner. and later, rush limbaugh tries to tell nuns what to do. that is not going to work out so well for rush. sister simone will join me. and rush is so lucky he’s not here. but lisaling is here and she’s done a closeup look at the work american nuns are doing. the top academic performers surprised some people. so did the country that came in 17th place.

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