Obama going to Ohio to challenge GOP on economy

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is pushing his economic message Wednesday in Ohio, eager to make his appeal to the middle class heard in a politically important state amid the boisterous start of the Republican campaign for the White House.

Obama is traveling to a Cleveland suburb a day after Mitt Romney won Iowa’s Republican presidential caucus by eight votes. The trip signals the White House’s intent to keep the president in the public eye even as the political world focuses on the GOP’s selection process.

Ohio is a swing state that went for George W. Bush in 2004 and for Obama in 2008. A top manufacturing state, Ohio has seen its jobless rate follow the national pattern; unemployment was 8.5 percent in November compared with 9.6 percent a year before.