CINCINNATI -- President Barack Obama on Monday mocked Mitt Romney’s economic vision, saying the only jobs plan his Republican rival has would create plenty of work for people overseas.
Campaigning in battleground Ohio, Obama again tried to erode Romney’s credentials as a businessman equipped to fix the sluggish economy.
The president said Romney’s proposal to free companies from taxes on their foreign holdings would lead to job creation abroad, not at home. He cited a new tax analysis that concludes that such a tax policy could displace American workers.
‘‘I want to give tax breaks to companies that are investing right here in Ohio, that are investing in Cincinnati,’’ Obama told a supportive crowd in the first official town hall event of his re-election campaign. ‘‘I want to give incentives to companies that are investing in you, the American people, to create American jobs making American goods ... That’s why I’m running for president of the United States’’
How to tax the foreign earnings of companies is hotly debated topic. Corporations argue that taxing those profits keeps companies from reinvesting that money in the U.S.
The president fielded questions on gay rights, energy and even Girl Scout cookies during a comfortable question-and-answer session with local residents. He spoke after raising money at a private fundraiser.
The free-flowing setting gave Obama a chance to work the crowd and create the campaign atmosphere he enjoys. When one man said he was a barber and wanted to cut the president’s hair, Obama kindly rebuffed him.
‘‘You would not want a president who was disloyal to his barber,’’ Obama said. ‘‘I mean, a man and his barber, that’s a strong connection.’’
Ohio is a crucial battleground for Obama and his Republican challenger. Obama was targeting Cincinnati, one of the state’s heavy Republican areas.
The president also highlighted his administration’s 2009 bailout of the auto industry, which saved thousands of jobs in Ohio, according to Democrats. Romney opposed Obama’s use of massive federal loans to keep Chrysler and General Motors afloat while they reorganized under bankruptcy protection.