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Obama And Romney Trade Economy Blows
US President Barack Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney have each seized on new employment figures to bolster their campaigns with just days to go before Tuesday's election.
Jobs and the economy were the dominant issue in the presidential race as both candidates arrived in the key swing state of Ohio to address voters.
The latest employment snapshot showed the US economy added 171,000 net new jobs in October. It also showed hiring was stronger in August and September than first thought.
Mr Obama, who faces voters with the highest unemployment rate of any incumbent since Franklin Roosevelt during the Great Depression of the 1930s, told supporters in Hilliard that another month of job growth was "real progress".
But he went on to declare: "We've got more work to do."
At the same time, the unemployment rate rose to 7.9% in October, from 7.8% in September, mainly because more people began looking for work.
That news was seized upon by the Republicans as proof the economy is still stagnating, and would be safer in the hands of businessman Mr Romney, who said the jobs report was a "sad reminder that the economy is at a virtual standstill".
In September, the jobless rate had fallen from 8.1% to 7.8% and the drop was used by Mr Obama's campaign as evidence that the fragile US economy was finally on the mend.
Back on the campaign trail after two days lost due to superstorm Sandy on the US East Coast, both men reflected on the past few days' events.
Mr Obama described the disaster as "one of the worst storms in our history", adding: "As a nation, we mourn those who were lost."
Mr Romney said: "We are a nation of generous hearts - and those hearts are called upon in a time of crisis like this."
Both insisted they were the better man to lead the country and were the true agent of change.
Mr Romney said Mr Obama had "fallen short of what he promised" when he was elected four years ago.
"Candidate Obama promised change, but he could not deliver it. I promise change, and I have a record of achieving it," he said.
"The question of this election comes down to this: do you want more of the same or do you want real change? And we bring real change," Mr Romney told a rally in West Allis, Wisconsin.
Mr Obama took aim at Mr Romney, accusing him of running dishonest adverts on the automotive industry to scare voters in Ohio, saying: "This isn't a game. These are people's jobs."
The adverts, which have been airing in Toledo, suggest carmakers General Motors and Chrysler are adding jobs in China at the expense of workers in Ohio.
Responding to the ads, Mr Obama said: "Everybody knows it's not true."
Mr Obama accused Mr Romney of trying to alarm Ohioans "just to scare up some votes".
Chrysler and GM officials said the ads were inaccurate.
"After four years as president, you know me," Mr Obama said.
"You may not agree with every decision I've made. You may be frustrated sometimes at the pace of change, but you know what I believe. You know where I stand.
"You know I tell the truth. You know I fight for you and your families every single day as hard as I know how," he added, before heading to another rally in Lima, a city in Allen County.
No Republican candidate for the White House has ever won the election without capturing Ohio.
Mr Obama is thought to be slightly ahead in the state, which delivers 18 electoral college votes.
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