MENTOR, Ohio (AP) — President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama campaigned on opposite ends of the battleground state of Ohio as the final weekend of stumping in the 2012 presidential race kicked off Saturday.
GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan also campaigned in the state, with plans to continue Sunday, along with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. President Obama also planned a Sunday stop in Cincinnati.
Obama visited Saturday with voters in an overflow room before his main speech in Mentor east of Cleveland and told supporters to shepherd their friends, neighbors and girlfriends to the polls to vote early.
He tacked on this very practical caveat: "You should convince them to vote for me before you drag them off to the polls."
Peaceful protesters in groups of three and four stood in cold, rainy weather along the main road leading to the president's appearance at Mentor High School northeast of Cleveland. The presidential motorcade entered through another roadway.
The protesters held signs slamming Obama on issues including gasoline prices, the military and abortion.
Retired business owner Mike Coleman, 69, of nearby North Perry, held a sign criticizing administration statements on the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. He said he wants a commander in chief who will provide quick help to Americans in distress.
"I want someone who won't leave them stranded, bend over backwards, go full bore if they need help if they are in trouble," Coleman said.
Tim Powell, of Leesburg, Va., walking with a protester wearing an oil can outfit, said he was trying to educate voters about high energy costs.
"You can't shut down every source of finding energy in the United States, then expect prices to remain stable," Powell said.
He had other props, including a banner with the photos of three presidents and comparative gasoline prices: Bill Clinton $1.46, George W. Bush $1.84 and Obama $3.72. "Any questions?" the banner asked.
The first lady campaigned at Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's alma mater, Miami University, in Oxford in southwestern Ohio.