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News roundup: October 25, 2011

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Today in Ohio, Mitt Romney stopped by a phone bank in Ohio to rally the troops in support of SB 5, a union-busting law that is deeply unpopular with Buckeyes. The bill was passed by Ohio's Republican Governor John Kasich and the state's GOP legislature earlier this year, and Ohio voters will likely repeal it in a statewide referendum next month. But in one of his strangest and most blatant flip-flops yet, when asked what his position on SB 5 was, Romney claimed he didn't have one.

In other flip-flop news, earlier this week in Ohio, Mitt Romney promoted a proposed referendum that would outlaw health care mandates. If passed, the referendum would add an amendment to the state constitution banning federal, state, or local laws requiring participation in a health care system. Although Romney intended to protest the Affordable Care Act, the referendum would also outlaw any bill similar to Romney's own health care law in Massachusetts—one of the former governor's signature accomplishments.

Obama campaign policy director James Kvaal released a memo yesterday criticizing Mitt Romney and Rick Perry's proposed tax plans. Under the GOP candidates' plans, the tax code would be changed in ways that help the wealthy and hurt the working middle class. Both candidates champion a flat tax, which would impose one tax bracket for the entire country. Such a plan would lower taxes on the wealthiest Americans while shifting the burden of taxation onto the middle class.

While the American Jobs Act (which will give a tax credit to businesses who hire veterans) is held up in Congress, the Obama administration announced two new initiatives to help returning veterans find jobs immediately. First, the administration challenged Community Health Centers to hire 8,000 veterans—approximately one veteran per health center site—over the next three years. Hoping to help veterans make use of their health care background, the administration will give priority in physician assistant grant awards to universities and colleges that help train veterans for careers as physician assistants. These efforts come on the heels of the administration sending 600,000 veterans to school under the GI Bill and hiring 100,000 veterans into the federal government.

We've launched a new television ad in Arizona highlighting Mitt Romney's comments on foreclosures. Romney said last week that the government should do nothing to help families whose homes are being foreclosed on, saying, "Don’t try to stop the foreclosure process, let it run its course and hit the bottom." The ad will run for six days on local and cable news channels throughout Arizona.