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News roundup: October 27, 2011

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The latest polls show that President Obama has a lead over the top three Republican candidates in Ohio, a key battleground state. Ohio has been a turning point in several elections, and the 18 electoral votes in Ohio are again expected to be critical in the 2012 election.

Mitt Romney and Rick Perry can't seem to make up their minds. Romney originally voiced his support in June for an Ohio ballot measure that would restrict workers' rights, then on Tuesday refused to take a position before once again giving his support on Wednesday. His Republican competitor Rick Perry criticized him for what he called "finger-in-the-wind politics." However, Perry did some flip-flopping of his own earlier in the week when he expressed doubt about the legitimacy of President Obama's birth certificate before recanting his statements a few days later.

Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate are increasingly worried about the party's 2012 presidential candidates. Many members of Congress have expressed concerns that the lack of focus on economic issues and excessive bickering will weaken the Republicans' chances in 2012. As of late, the candidates have focused mostly on attacking each other rather than discussing substantive issues, which became particularly evident at the recent Las Vegas debate.

Before Mitt Romney made a fundraising visit to Illinois today, Rep. Jan Schakowsky sent him a letter asking him to address concerns from her constituents. Schakowsky asked Romney why he thinks that the wealthiest Americans and corporations deserve tax breaks, after opposing President Obama's middle class tax breaks. She also questioned his "hit the bottom" comments on foreclosures. The congresswoman also called into question Romney's record of flip-flopping on issues such as the flat tax and his Massachusetts health care bill.

According to advance reports today, the economy has seen its ninth straight quarter of growth as real GDP grew by 2.5 percent in the third quarter of this year. The level of real GDP now exceeds its level at the business cycle peak in the fourth quarter of 2007. While the increased growth is an encouraging sign, we must continue to act to reclaim lost jobs and accelerate the recovery by passing the American Jobs Act—which will help increase economic growth and reduce long-term unemployment.