MAUMEE, Ohio (AP) — Defending his economic policies, President Barack Obama said Thursday he was betting that Americans wouldn't lose interest or heart in the upcoming election despite a political stalemate in Congress. He said the next election would set the country's economic outlook for the next decade and beyond.

Kicking off a two-day bus tour of northern Ohio and western Pennsylvania, Obama described a political system at a crossroads and argued that his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, would pursue economic policies that favor the wealthy at the expense of the middle class. The president said he was willing to work with "anybody who believes that we're in this together."

"I'm not a Democrat first, I'm an American first," Obama said at a quintessential campaign scene, an early 19th-century museum complex dotted with red-white-and-blue bunting and American flags.

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