WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney criticized President Barack Obama's jobs record in a key swing state on Thursday by spotlighting a closed factory that Obama once touted as a symbol of economic hope.
Taking aim at an issue that could be Obama's key vulnerability in the 2012 election, Romney launched a 40-second Web video blaming the Democratic president's economic policies for 100,000 job losses in Pennsylvania and the total of 470,000 jobless workers in the northeastern state.
The video, coming on a day when both Romney and Obama were due to visit Pennsylvania, focuses on the Allentown Metal Works that closed in January, just over a year after Obama visited the plant to tout his economic stimulus efforts.
Romney was due to hold a news conference at the factory site on Thursday.
The economy and joblessness are considered among Obama's main weaknesses in his re-election effort. Romney is leading in opinion polls among the candidates seeking the Republican 2012 presidential nomination to face Obama.
Romney, a former Massachusetts governor and businessman, is trying to promote himself as an economics-savvy jobs creator.
Obama's victory in Pennsylvania in 2008 was instrumental in his presidential election victory. The state could be pivotal again in his 2012 re-election campaign.
The state has recently shown signs of favoring Republicans, partly as a result of the conservative Tea Party movement that helped Republican Pat Toomey win election to the Senate in 2010.
(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Will Dunham)
BERLIN – Germany's banks are prepared to contribute to a second rescue package for Greece, taking a proposal drawn up in France as a basis, officials said Thursday.
Germany's government has pressed hard for a voluntary private-sector contribution due to increasing reluctance among the public — and particularly among its own lawmakers — to pledge more taxpayer money to rescue Greece.
"I am glad that the representatives of the German finance industry have said they are prepared to participate in a second aid program for Greece" within a wider European deal, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said after meeting senior bankers.
German commercial banks currently have some euro10 billion ($14.8 billion) tied up in Greek bonds — more than half of that not due for repayment until after 2020, according to a joint statement released after Thursday's meeting.
Schaeuble said that banks were prepared, "within the framework of a concept that has yet to be worked out in detail, to make available again for financing Greece" some euro2 billion invested in bonds that expire by 2014.
France's banks earlier this week voluntarily offered to roll over the bulk of their holdings in Greek public debt for a period of 30 years.
"We have said from the beginning that we see our responsibility," said Josef Ackermann, the chief executive of Deutsche Bank AG, Germany's biggest bank. "We are convinced that Greece must continue to be helped."
"We are taking the French model as a basis, but building in modifications," Ackermann added.
He didn't give details of the changes that might be made, but said that "we are making good progress, and we are all confident that we will find a satisfactory solution."
NEW YORK (AFP) – US stocks rallied as markets opened Thursday amid signs that Athens would implement a painful austerity plan and that German banks would join a rescue effort to prevent a Greek default.
The Dow Jones Industrial average gained 99.48 points (0.81 percent) to stand at 12,360.90 in the first half-hour of trading.
The broader S&P 500 rose 8.21 points (0.63 percent) to 1,315.62, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite climbed 20.50 points (0.75 percent) to 2,760.99.
Traders were keeping a close eye on Greece, where lawmakers secured enough votes to pass a bill implementing a painful 28-billion-euro ($41-billion) austerity plan demanded by international creditors.
Further fueling hopes that Europe would defuse its debt crisis, the German government announced that German banks had agreed to participate in a second rescue package for Athens by rolling over some of their Greek bonds.
"Greece appears to be on course to receive a second bailout package," said Patrick O'Hare of Briefing.com.
In the United States, government data showed continued economic weakness, with a report showing that 428,000 people had filed new jobless claims in the week ending June 29, only a slight dip from 429,000 a week earlier.
Shares of Hewlett-Packard gained 3.0 percent as the tech giant prepared to release its TouchPad, a tablet computer designed to compete with Apple's dominant iPad.
Bond prices were mixed. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury note dipped to 3.10 percent from 3.11 percent on Wednesday, while that on the 30-year bond edged up to 4.38 percent from 4.37 percent.
Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.