Candidates try to steer focus back to jobs

President Barack Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney last week sought to refocus their campaigns on the economic recovery, in a week when the political conversation was dominated by Missouri Republican Rep. Todd Akin’s controversial comments about rape.

Romney began promoting an energy plan that seeks to make North America energy independent by 2020, create 3 million new jobs — including 1 million in manufacturing — and open up new areas for drilling off the coast of Virginia and the Carolinas.

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“That’s more good wages,” Romney said during a campaign stop at a New Mexico trucking and oil services company. “That’s an opportunity for more Americans to have a bright and prosperous future.”

The plan includes loosening environmental regulations and promoting coal production, reaching energy production agreements with Mexico and Canada, and building the Keystone XL Pipeline.

While Romney’s energy proposal centers around oil and gas jobs, Obama is focusing on wind and solar jobs. At recent campaign events, Obama supported extending a federal tax credit for businesses that produce wind and other alternative energy — an extension that Romney has opposed — saying renewable energy is creating new jobs in Colorado and Iowa.

The Obama campaign also continued to push its jobs agenda with a new television ad featuring former president Bill Clinton calling Obama a “clear choice” to lead the economic recovery.

“This election to me is about which candidate is more likely to return us to full employment,” Clinton said in the ad. “The Republican plan is to cut more taxes on upper income people and go back to de-regulation ... President Obama has a plan to rebuild America from the ground up, investing in innovation, education and job training.”

 
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