Toledo's Mayor isn't ready to make an endorsement in the 2012 Presidential race, yet.
The mayor's in an interesting position. He's now an independent but he likes the economic policies of the Democratic president while remaining close to the Republican Ohio governor.
President Barack Obama will campaign kick-off a two-day bus tour for re-election, in Maumee, Thursday and will no doubt tout a turn around in the economy.
In Ohio, the unemployment rate has dropped from 10.6%, in 2009, to 7.3%, last month.
But Republican John Kasich has been governor during that period. That could mean the mayor will have to pick sides in who gets credit.
Mayor Bell told 13 ABC's Bill Hormann, "I think both of them get a lot of credit for what's going on." That could mean the mayor favors Obama for President and Kasich if he runs for re-election as governor, but the mayor is making no endorsements, yet.
Bell says economic growth is the big issue to help him decide in the race for president. One big boost to the local economy is the jump in auto jobs.
Fiat's announcement of expansion and 1200 additional jobs at the Jeep complex has jump started the local economy.
President Obama takes credit for the surging car industry and Mayor Bell agrees, saying, "I do believe that without the inititiative that the president put together with the bailout of the automotive industry, we would not be doing as well as we are right now."
And Governor Kasich has came into office, in 2011, with an emphasis on business growth... And getting rid of impediments to business expansion. But he's not running this year, Mitt Romney will be the president's Republican challenger. And you get the sense that Mayor Bell will weigh the policies of both Romney and Obama.
But the mayor knows *he's* up for re-election, in 2013. His foreign trips have helped sell the Marina District and other Toledo properties to Chinese investors. And he will tout *his* efforts, if he runs. The mayor says, "From the stand point of collaboration, that's my forte. And I let the other people do the detail type stuff and we focus on turning this place around and it is working."
Mayor Bell will endorse a presidential candidate at some point. But the president seems to be a front runner right now. Ironically. the Republican governor has favor with the mayor, as well, should Kashich run again. And if Bell runs for re-election as an independent next year... he can also lay claim to playing a part in Toledo's economic rebound.