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president barack obama in cincinnati President Barack Obama takes questions from the audience during a town meeting, Monday, July 16, 2012, at Music Hall in Cincinnati. (Photo: AP Photo/Al Behrman)

Election 2012: President Takes Questions Ohio

Holds campaign town hall in Cincinnati

By Meggie Zahneis | July 17 , 2012

President Barack Obama was in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Monday for a town hall campaign event. More than 1,200 people packed Cincinnati's Music Hall to hear the President talk about the issues facing voters in the 2012 presidential election.

The President opened the town hall by criticizing Republican candidate Mitt Romney and his ideas about the economy.

"Governor Romney and his allies in Congress believe in an economic theory that says if folks at the very top are doing really well, then that spreads to everybody else. It's what we call top-down economics," President Obama said. "I want everybody to understand, Ohio, I've got a different theory."

He then laid out his plans for middle-class tax relief, economic recovery, education reform, and rebuilding the country's roads, bridges, and other infrastructure.

He also listed some of the accomplishments of his first three years in office.

"I ended the war in Iraq as I promised. We're winding down the war in Afghanistan. We decimated al Qaeda," President Obama said. "Let's now take half the money we were spending on war and do some nation-building right here at home."

Once his speech was over, the President took questions from the crowd on a range of issues.

"My father, he's an unemployed construction worker and he's on unemployment. So as your job as President, will he have a job before his unemployment runs out?" one 13-year-old girl asked.

"My hope is, is that we can put him to work," the President answered.

He explained that the country needs to jump start the housing. Once it does, jobs for construction workers will begin to return.

"Interest rates are low. Construction workers are out of work. Contractors are begging for work," Obama said. "And so we could knock out a whole bunch of work that needs to get done for this country anyway, and put people back to work, which would grow the economy right now."

The President was also asked about equality, the environment, and education. But one question left him scratching his head.

One young girl in the audience wanted to know Obama's favorite kind of Girl Scout Cookie.

"I've got to say this is one of the toughest questions," Obama admitted. (For the record, it's the "mint" cookies.)

The crowd applauded and cheered often during the town hall. And many in attendance said they approved of the job Obama has done as President.

"I think he has done more in three years than the Bush Administration did in 8 years," Bond Hill retiree Stan Johnson said. "I think he would like to do more, but Congress was hindering his efforts. Congress keeps saying they want to create jobs, but they aren't working to help create the jobs."

Dave Marx of Loveland, Ohio, agreed that Congress has been a problem for Obama.

"I think [Obama] just [needs to] be more aggressive with Congress; he's been too collaborative in his dealings," Marx said. "And if he were able to force the Senate and Congress to work together to get some of the bills passed, we'd be in better shape."

During the town hall, Obama was asked how he would unite everyone when it seems everyone is so divided.

The President said he was disappointed that he hasn't been able to change the tone of Washington. But he was quick to add that he thinks Republicans in Congress will work with him in a second term.

"If the objective is no longer just beating me, my hope is that they'll be more open to finding common-sense solutions to the problems that our country faces. And I know that is absolutely a goal of mine because in the end, we are not Democrats or Republicans first, we are Americans first. That's what I believe."

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