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July 22, 2017

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Romney and Obama focus on debate preparations

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is promoting newfound enthusiasm for his candidacy as President Barack Obama highlights the success of American automakers in the wake of a government bailout. Both men are preparing for their second debate, set for Tuesday in New York.

Obama was hunkering down Saturday in Virginia to go over the game plan for the town-hall style debate with Romney. But his weekly official radio address spoke of an industry that's critical to Ohio, another battleground state and perhaps the most important to his Republican opponent's White House hopes.

The U.S. president is not chosen by a nationwide popular vote but in state-by-state contests, making battleground states like Ohio — which are neither reliably Republican nor Democratic — important in such a tight election. Ohio is perhaps the most important of these states because no Republican has lost the state and gone on to win the White House.

"We refused to throw in the towel and do nothing. We refused to let Detroit go bankrupt," Obama said in the address, a transcript of which was released early Saturday morning.

Romney opposed using government funds to help the auto industry go through bankruptcy. Many analysts believe the industry would not have survived if it had relied on private investment for rescue. It's an issue that has dogged Romney in Ohio, where numerous auto parts suppliers also benefited from the survival of the big three automakers.

Romney is concluding a week of campaign rallies that saw him drawing larger, more excited crowds than he has through the fall campaign. More than 10,000 people turned out to several rallies, with the campaign saying that more people were signing up to attend events in the wake of Romney's strong debate performance last week in Nevada.

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