Columbus (US): President Barack Obama on Sunday said America had suffered through too much pain to turn the economy over to Republican Mitt Romney, as he fired up his first official campaign rally.

Obama sought to revive the political magic that swept him to power in 2008, hampered by new signs that the recovery may be running out of steam and the fact that many people in the heartland are still struggling.

The president told a rowdy rally in swing state Ohio that Romney would "rubber stamp" some "bad ideas" such as slashing tax cuts for the rich and spending cuts on social programs brewed by conservatives in Congress.

"That's the choice in this election and that is why I am running for a second term as president of the United States," Obama said, drawing loud chants of four more years from a crowd in a sports arena.

Obama said that he had taken office in 2009 amid the deepest economic crisis since the 1930s, in an implicit recognition that times remain tough for many people for whom a recovery remains a mirage amid 8.1 percent unemployment.

 "We didn't quit. We don't quit, together we are fighting our way back."

"This crisis took years to develop and the economy is still facing headwinds and it will take sustained, persistent effort -- yours and mine for America to fully recover," Obama said.

  "That is the truth. And we all know it. We are making progress and now we face a choice."


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