Former President Bill Clinton said Tuesday that Ohioans are right to feel angry about the weak U.S. economy but shouldn’t let that cloud their judgment when voting in November.
Clinton headlined campaign rallies in Cleveland and Columbus ahead of the first debate between Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland and Republican challenger John Kasich.
Clinton put the blame for the economy on Republican policies before Strickland took office in 2007. He said Strickland has laid the foundation for a recovery in Ohio with strong economic development programs and deserves to be re-elected to a second term.
He also said voters can’t afford to have amnesia about GOP policies.
“You need to erase your amnesia, not so we can place blame for the past but so that we can remember what caused this,” Clinton told a crowd at a riverside park in downtown Columbus.
Strickland briefly joined Clinton before heading off to the debate at a nearby science museum. His campaign estimated the crowd at 1,800 people.
Strickland is trailing in the polls to Kasich, a former congressman, Fox News commentator and Lehman Brothers managing director. Strickland skipped Clinton’s earlier appearance in Cleveland to prepare for the debate.
Clinton acknowledged that office holders might not get credit from voters “if people don’t feel better” about the economy.
“Give us two more years,” Clinton said in Cleveland.
Republican National Committee spokesman Ryan Tronovitch said the Clinton pitch would remind voters of the “big- government, tax and spend” policies of Democrats and Ohio’s 10.3 percent jobless rate, among the worst in the nation.
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