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Obama: Set in.

“Economists are slashing their already tepid growth forecasts. The unemployment rate seems stuck at around 8 percent. It is a tense time for the American economy. It is also the time that some experts believe the country’s undecided voters are beginning to cement their presidential picks,” Annie Lowrey and John Harwood write in the New York Times. “That is why many political scientists and consultants consider Friday’s jobs report and the ones immediately following it to be so important — perhaps more so than those of the previous three years.”

The Times on Obama’s trip to Ohio: “President Obama, betting that the glimmers of a resurgence in the Rust Belt could lift him to victory in the fall, set off Thursday on a two-day bus tour of Ohio and Pennsylvania, promoting himself as a defender of American manufacturing jobs and taking aim at those he said could steal those jobs away. … It was a day of sweaty handshakes and fast-melting ice cream cones, as Mr. Obama’s armored black bus snaked across northern Ohio, its hulking profile blurry in the shimmering heat waves. In one-on-one encounters at a farm market and a diner, and in a speech at an ice cream social, Mr. Obama sought to sharpen his message on the economy, etching the differences between him and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney.”

And: “The tour gives Mr. Obama the chance to make an argument that however weak the job market is nationally, the outlook for battleground states like Ohio is brightening. With the release of another potentially poor employment number on Friday, that argument could allow him to weather the ebbs and flows of a fragile economy.”