“I don’t think we’re going to get very far if we’ve got leaders who write off half the nation as a bunch of victims who don’t take responsibility for their own lives,” Obama said, referring to Romney’s controversial remarks at a private fundraiser in which he said 47 percent of Americans see themselves as victims.
“I’ve spent a lot of time in Ohio, and I haven’t seen a lot of victims. I see a lot of hardworking Ohioans,” the president said to a crowd of 6,000 at Kent State University. “I see students trying to work their way through college. I see single moms, like my mom, putting in overtime to raise their kids right. I see senior citizens who have been saving their entire lives for retirements, veterans who served this country bravely, soldiers who defend our freedom today.”
Romney began the second day of his Ohio bus tour by arguing that his policies would do more to help the middle class and the millions of Americans who are struggling to make ends meet.
“I do not want an intrusive, massive, larger-debt-spending government that crushes the American Dream,” Romney said. “You guys, this matters. Look, this matters — this really matters. The choice we make is going to determine what kind of take-home pay people in America have. It’s going to determine what kind of jobs we have. It’s also going to determine whether our kids are confident and you’re confident in your kids and in their future.”
Describing the election as a “choice” is a departure for Romney — a sign that he is trying to reframe the debate at a difficult moment for him with just six weeks until Election Day. The new argument is also a concession that Romney’s prior strategy to cast the election as a referendum on Obama has not worked. And it is risky, because all along Obama has portrayed the election as a choice, promising to strengthen the economy by helping the middle class and preserving the programs that give Americans opportunity, and accusing Romney of wanting to help only the wealthiest Americans.
Again in Ohio on Wednesday, Obama drummed into his audiences his support for student loans, workforce training, the auto industry bailout and veterans benefits, and mocked Romney’s proposal to give tax relief to the wealthiest Americans, his opposition to the auto bailout and the new health-care law, and his support for deep federal budget cuts.
“This is important, because you’ve got a big choice to make,” the president told an earlier crowd at Bowling Green State University. “And it’s not just a choice between two parties or two candidates. It is a choice between two fundamentally different paths for America, two fundamentally different choices for our future.”