4,800 gather for NObama

After thousands of area residents waited in line for hours for tickets to see President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton, complications arising from Hurricane Sandy forced the president to cancel all campaign stops at the last minute.

Instead, Joe Biden, vice president of the U.S., motivated a crowd of roughly 4,800 at the Covelli Centre on Monday afternoon.

Michelle Sinkele, a Boardman resident, said she was disappointed Obama was unable to make it, but that seeing Clinton in person was wonderful.

“I loved Clinton as a president,” Sinkele said.

Monday’s Rasmussen poll has Romney ahead by two points in Ohio. Real Clear Politics has Romney with slightly less than a one-point advantage across the nation.

Americans must now choose, Biden said, between what he believes are signs of progress under the Obama administration and policies similar to George W. Bush’s.

“The American people will not go back. We will not go back,” Biden said. “We’ve seen how it ends: 9 million lost jobs.”

Still, Harry Meshel, former Ohio state senator and Youngstown State University trustee, said he believes Obama will win Ohio and ultimately the presidency on Nov. 6.

The message maintained a generally positive sense when it came to the Obama administration’s handling of the economy.

The duo criticized Obama’s Republican counterpart, Mitt Romney, on what they say are attacks on women, financial burdens on college students and deceitful ads about the auto industry.

Biden criticized Romney’s unwillingness to condemn Richard Mourdock for his comments related to God’s intention for pregnancies to occur from rape.

Women’s rights, Clinton and Biden said, are at risk in this election. Sinkele, a single mother, agreed, which is why she voted early for Obama.

“I believe [Romney] will control what a woman can do with her body,” Sinkele said. “People of Ohio need to realize what’s going on.”

Several mentions were made of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which gave women a greater opportunity to gain equal pay.

“Women are no less than equal,” Meshel said. “Young women above all should be paying attention.”

While college costs have been incrementally growing, Clinton and Biden heralded the president’s strengthening of income-based repayment programs, and the latter promised to keep the interest rate low when it’s up for reconsideration next year.

“If you’re a college student and you vote for Mitt Romney, you’re voting against your own self-interest,” said David Betras, chair of the Mahoning County Democratic Party.

Meshel, the only YSU trustee to vote against the recent tuition increase, reinforced the idea of cutting college tuition costs.

“Students need to pay attention,” Meshel said. “Republicans are clever. They’re good at lying and misstating their position.”

“Nobody has your back more than President Obama,” Betras said.

Additional reporting by James Toliver.