Obama Pushes Innovation at Ohio Small Businesses

By Nancy Benac | February 22, 2011 | 1:01 PM EST

President Barack Obama speaks at the Intel Corporation, Friday, Feb. 18, 2011, in Hillsboro, Ore. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Cleveland (AP) - President Barack Obama took his agenda for increased spending on targeted initiatives to politically important Ohio, where the state's Republican governor has joined a chorus of GOP leaders calling for greater cost cutting measures at both the state and federal level.

Speaking to small business leaders Tuesday, Obama said the U.S. must boost spending on sectors like education and transportation that can make America more competitive, while also cutting from domestic programs that are adding to the nation's deficit.

"By cutting back on what we don't need, we can invest in the future," Obama said. "We can invest in the things that are critical to our long-term success."

Tuesday's appearance in Cleveland is part of a White House push to promote Obama's competitiveness initiatives in states likely to play a central role in the president's reelection bid. Since delivering his State of the Union address, Obama has also traveled to Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, all states likely to be up for grabs in the 2012 election.

That message, however, is running up against an opposing story line that is focused on the budget cutting steps being taken by governors in Wisconsin, New Jersey, Indiana and in Ohio, where Gov. John Kasich is backing state legislation that would end collective bargaining for public employees.

Obama was greeted by Kasich at the airport upon arriving in Cleveland Tuesday.