All News & Blogs
Barack Obama (left) shakes hands outside OMG! Burgers in Miami. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigns in Sarasota, Fla., on Thursday.
ASSOCIATED PRESS PHOTOS
View More Images from this story
Visit the Photo Place
Date published: 9/21/2012
MIAMI--President Barack Obama cast Mitt Romney on Thursday as an out-of-touch challenger for the White House and an advocate of education cuts that could cause teacher strikes to spread from Chicago to other cities. The Republican countered that the U.S. economy "is bumping along the bottom" under the current administration and he predicted victory in the fall.
The two men eyed each other across hotly contested Florida, a state with 29 electoral votes, more than any other battleground in the close race for the White House.
"When you express an attitude that half the country considers itself victims, that somehow they want to be dependent on government, my thinking is maybe you haven't gotten around a lot," the president said. That was in response to a question about Romney's recent observation that 47 percent of Americans pay no income tax and believe they are victims and entitled to an array of federal benefits.
Obama spoke at a town hall-style forum aired by the Spanish-language television network Univision.
For his part, Romney was eager to move past that controversy. He disclosed plans for a three-day bus tour early next week through Ohio with running mate Paul Ryan and sought to return the campaign focus to the economic issues that have dominated the race all year.
At a fundraiser in Sarasota, Fla., Romney looked ahead to his televised head-to-head encounters with Obama this fall. "He's a very eloquent speaker, and so I'm sure in the debates, as last time he'll be very eloquent in describing his vision," the Republican said. "But he can't win by his words, because his record speaks so loudly in our ears. What he has done in the last four years is establish an economy that's bumping along the bottom."
Less than seven weeks before Election Day, polls make the race a close one, likely to be settled in eight or so swing states where neither man has a solid edge. Obama has gained ground in polls in some of those states since the completion of the Democratic National Convention two weeks ago, while Romney has struggled with controversies of his own making that have left Republicans frustrated at his performance as a candidate.
Still, there were fresh signs of weakness in the nation's job market as the two candidates vied for support in Florida.