“Now that we’re 18 days out from the election, ‘Mr. Severely Conservative’ wants you to think he was severely kidding about everything he said over the last year,’’ Obama said in a speech devoted almost entirely to attacking Romney, and during which he gave little indication of what he would do in a second term if reelected.
Building in intensity, Obama continued: “He’s forgetting what his own positions are, and he’s betting that you will, too. I mean, he’s changing up so much and backtracking and sidestepping. We’ve got to — we’ve got to — we’ve got to name this condition that he’s going through. I think — I think it’s called ‘Romnesia.’ ”
The crowd roared.
The Romney campaign was not amused. “America doesn’t need a comedy routine; it needs a serious plan to fix the economy,’’ Romney senior adviser Danny Diaz wrote on Twitter.
Added Amanda Henneberg, a Romney spokeswoman: “Women haven’t forgotten how we’ve suffered over the last four years in the Obama economy with higher taxes, higher unemployment, and record levels of poverty. President Obama has failed to put forward a second-term agenda — and when you don’t have a plan to run on, you stoop to scare tactics.’’
The renewed skirmishing came as the other candidates converged on the key swing state of Florida ahead of Monday’s final presidential debate in Boca Raton, which is shaping up as critical in a race that polls show is tight nationally and in battleground states.
Vice President Biden and Romney’s running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), spent their Friday rallying supporters in the Sunshine State, whose 29 electoral votes make it the biggest swing state prize. At one point, Ryan’s campaign jet rolled across the tarmac in Tampa past Biden’s Air Force Two.
Ann Romney and Michelle Obama, both important surrogates as the campaigns battle for an edge among women voters, have events scheduled for South Florida in the coming days. Female voters are a critical bloc that could determine who is elected on Nov. 6, and recent polls have shown Romney cutting into Obama’s lead among them.
With the economy still the key issue in the race, Obama got some potentially good news on Friday: New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that the unemployment rate dropped in 41 states last month, including many of the top swing states. Those included Florida, Colorado and Iowa. Yet Florida’s rate, at 8.7 percent, remains higher than the national average, and unemployment is still high across the country.
Romney prepared for the debate Friday morning in New York before flying to Florida. where he appeared with Ryan at a rally in Daytona Beach in the evening.