Friday’s Headlines: Obama Heads to Ohio to Talk Jobs

BY Jason M. Breslow  January 22, 2010 at 10:10 AM EST

Obama in Ohio: President Obama heads to Lorain County, Ohio, on Friday to talk jobs as part of his White House to Main Street “listening tour.”

During the visit to Ohio, where the unemployment rate stands at 10.6 percent, the president plans to tour local businesses, pitching the idea that investments in clean energy will help boost the nation’s economy, according to the Associated Press. The president will visit a wind turbine plant and hold a town-hall meeting at noon. Streaming video will be available on the White House Web site.

With manufacturing vanishing across the Midwest, residents in hard-hit Lorain County are looking to hear the president talk about investments in small business, the local NPR station reports.

House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, welcomes the president to the Buckeye State with an op-ed in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “Like the people of Massachusetts,” he writes, “Ohioans are waiting for a sign that the president understands their struggle and is listening to them as they continue to say ‘stop.’”

China responds to Clinton: China’s Foreign Ministry shot back at Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s call yesterday for broad Internet freedom in all nations, saying the United States should “cease using so-called Internet freedom to make groundless accusations against China.” In a statement on the ministry’s Web site, spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said Clinton’s criticism was “harmful to Sino-American relations.”

Campaign finance ruling: Plenty more analysis out this morning on the Supreme Court’s ruling yesterday that the First Amendment prevents the government from banning spending by corporations in elections. “The Supreme Court has handed a new weapon to lobbyists,” David Kirkpatrick writes in the New York Times. “If you vote wrong, a lobbyist can now tell any elected official that my company, labor union or interest group will spend unlimited sums explicitly advertising against your re-election,” he says.

Peter Overby of NPR says more truth in advertising may be a byproduct of the landmark ruling, while over at the Washington Post, Robert Barnes says the decision shows the court’s “current term might signal a new willingness to act boldly.”

On last night’s broadcast of the PBS NewsHour, Steve Simpson of the Institute of Justice told Jim Lehrer the ruling “very well might lead to a lot more spending by corporations and special interest, but that is precisely what the First Amendment was designed to allow.” Monica Youn of NYU argued the First Amendment is about freedom of speech, not the freedom to spend unlimited sums in elections. “It’s that difference,” she said, “that makes our political system a democracy ruled by the people, rather than a plutocracy ruled by money or those who have the most money.”

Haiti relief effort: In an effort to stem the spread of disease, officials in Haiti are planning to temporarily relocate some 400,000 people from the makeshift camps that have popped up throughout Port-au-Prince to the outskirts of the devastated capital.

Wall Street: Despite better than expected earnings from General Electric and Google, stocks in the United States appear set to extend losses for a third day Friday over investor concerns of a White House plan to reign in risk at big banks. Shares in Asia and Europe were both down this morning, one day after the Obama plan helped drag down the Dow by 213.27 points, or 2 percent, to close at 10389.88.