Obama banks on gathering economic recovery as his ticket to a second term

President's speech strikes campaigning note as ad campaign targets Romney's record

Converting what was meant to be his main weakness into what may turn out to be his strength Barack Obama is touting the gathering economic recovery in the United States as his ticket to a second term.

It is a potentially risky strategy with the questions still lurking about the durability of the upturn and fast-rising petrol prices also but it is being enthusiastically pursued by Mr Obama in a string of appearances, including one in New Hampshire last night, that increasingly sound more like campaign events than policy speeches.

Fuelling his confidence is a growing body of evidence that the recovery is gaining momentum and in particular that the employment crisis is beginning to abate. New figures yesterday on first time jobless claims showed further improvement. Not hurting the President's mood, meanwhile, is the unruliness of Republican nomination fight.

In New Hampshire, Mr Obama mocked Republican candidates for saying pain at the petrol pump could be ended by more drilling for oil in the US. "This is hard to believe, but some politicians are seeing higher gas prices as a political opportunity," he jibed, adding: "One thing I know about New Hampshire, it's that your political bull detector is pretty sharp. You know we can't just drill our way to lower gas prices."

The primary calendar has given Mr Obama the chance to focus attention on the revived fortunes of the car industry thanks, he argues, to the bailouts he approved and which putative Republican front-runner Mitt Romney opposed.

"I placed my bet on the American worker," he told a United Automobile Worker conference on Tuesday, the same day Michigan, home to the "big three" car companies, was voting.

Yesterday, the political action committee supporting Mr Obama began airing television ads in Ohio assailing Mr Romney for his position on the bailouts. The second largest car-manufacturing state in the country, Ohio will also be the single most important trophy on Super Tuesday next week when ten states vote in the Republican nomination race.

The television spot partly reveals a strategy that assumes Mr Romney will be the nominee. No Republican has won the White House without first winning Ohio. But it may in the meantime have the effect of weakening Mr Romney as he battles his main foe, Rick Santorum, in the Ohio primary. Latest polls continue to show Mr Santorum in the lead , but Larry Sabato, the director of political studies at the University of Virginia, predicted that Mr Romney will "grind out" the state like he did Michigan.

Despite signaling it would like to re-focus on the economy, the Romney camp found itself snared in social and cultural squalls, stirred this time by Republicans in the Senate who yesterday failed to pass a bill to override an Obama measure that requires employers and their insurance companies to provide women with birth control and other natal care. Mr Romney appeared to say to a reporter in Ohio that he did not support his party on the issue. He later backtracked and said he had misunderstood the question.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: C#.Net Developer - C#, ASP.Net, PHP, HTML, JavaScript, CSS

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: C#.Net Developer - C#, ASP.Net, HTML...

Recruitment Genius: Business Support Administrator - Part Time

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the South West'...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive - OTE £40,000

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An expanding business based in ...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales - Business Broker - Scotland

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As an award winning and leading...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas