ERRYSBURG, Ohio (AP) _ Former President Bill Clinton joined a chorus of Democrats who are blasting Mitt Romney over campaign ads that claim General Motors and Chrysler are adding jobs in China at the expense of Ohio.
Clinton, campaigning for President Barack Obama across the all-important state of Ohio on Thursday, said Romney's response to the criticism from the automakers has been to pour money into ads that he knows are false.
“That should be all you need to know,'' Clinton said at a rally just outside Toledo, where Chrysler operates two factories and plans to add 1,100 jobs at its assembly plant.
Romney's presidential campaign has fought back against criticism from Democrats and the automakers, arguing that the ads are accurate. The ads repeat a version of Romney's claim at a rally in Ohio last week that Chrysler is moving Jeep production to China. Chrysler insists that no jobs are being moved.
A new radio spot airing in the Toledo area on Thursday said Romney, not Obama, was more supportive of the auto industry. “Mitt Romney, he'll stand up for the auto industry in Ohio, not China,'' the ad said.
Vice President Joe Biden a day earlier called the ads flagrantly dishonest. Romney opposed the 2009 government bailout of GM and Chrysler, which Obama championed.
Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan said in a statement that GM and Chrysler are expanding their production overseas. “These are facts that voters deserve to know as they listen to the claims President Obama and his campaign are making.''
The auto bailout and its impact in Ohio is shaping up to be one of the defining issues in the presidential campaign in Ohio, a state every Republican has won on the way to the White House.
Backers of the bailout say one in eight jobs in Ohio can be linked to the auto industry, which includes both factory workers and those who sell groceries to plant employees.
All the Detroit automakers have a big presence in the state, especially in the northern half where Obama is counting on a big turnout from union households. The Toledo area alone has two Chrysler plants, a GM factory and dozens of supplier operations.
Clinton started his day in Wisconsin and will make three speeches in Ohio before going on to Florida for a slew of rallies. He apologized for his raspy voice and corrected himself after saying he was honored to be in Pennsylvania.
His harsh words about the GOP presidential hopeful struck a much different tone than his remarks at a rally two weeks ago near Cleveland where he barely mentioned Romney.
But with only a few days left in the campaign, the former president has sharpened his speeches. He said Romney's prediction that he'll create 12 million jobs if elected is based on what will happen because of policies Obama already has in place.
“His argument is you must be disappointed so put me in so I can claim credit for these jobs I had nothing to do with it,'' he said.
Romney's plan to cut taxes will come at the expense of health care for the poor and affordable loans for college students, Clinton said.
“I just don't think it works,'' he said. “We have tried it before.''