Romney Makes Preemptive Strike In Ohio

By: CNN Posted By Doug Brown
By: CNN Posted By Doug Brown

(CNN) – As President Barack Obama gears up for a big rally in Ohio–his first official campaign event this cycle–his likely opponent Mitt Romney penned a not-so-warm welcome letter for the president in The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

"Dear Mr. President: Welcome to Ohio. I have a simple question for you: Where are the jobs?" Romney wrote in the op-ed published Friday.

The letter largely targets Obama over his economic policies, describing the president's time in the White House as a period marred by "paltry results."

"I recognize, of course, as do all Americans, that you inherited an economic crisis. But you've now had three years to turn things around. The record of those three years is clear. Your policies have failed, not only in Ohio, but across the nation," Romney wrote.

He added: "Undoing the damage you've done will be a daunting challenge."

The president will hold a big rally at Ohio State University in Columbus on Saturday. Later in the day, he'll travel to hold a second event in Richmond, Virginia.

Saturday will likely mark the first of many major campaign days in Ohio, as it's set to be a crucial battleground in the fall.

The president won the Buckeye State in 2008 with 52% of the vote. Since then, however, Republicans have made big gains, sweeping statewide offices and picking up the governor's office. The GOP also held an open U.S. Senate seat and gained five seats in the House.

A recent Quinnipiac Poll indicates the race is all tied up in Ohio between Obama and Romney, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee. According to the survey, 44% of voters back Obama, while 42% support Romney.

While the unemployment rate in Ohio is lower than the national average at 7.5%, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Romney challenged the president on his job creation record and argued the president's campaign 2008 "promises now ring hollow."

"Whatever the case, what you are offering Ohio now is too little, too late," Romney said.

Obama's re-election campaign did not immediately return a request for comment.

– CNN National Political Correspondent Jim Acosta contributed to this report.

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