The Obama campaign, for its part, stepped up its denunciations of plans by Romney’s running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.), to overhaul Medicare and pointed out that Ryan’s proposed budgets would leave in place the very cuts that he and Romney are now condemning.
At the same time, the rival camps continued an increasingly testy back-and-forth over the tone of the campaign, with Romney declaring in a CBS television interview Wednesday morning that Obama’s reelection drive “is all about division and attack and hatred” and that he is “running just to hang onto power.” An Obama campaign spokeswoman called the comments “unhinged,” the Associated Press reported.
Romney also vowed in the interview, “My commitment is, if I become president, I’m going to restore that $716 billion to the Medicare trust fund, so that current seniors can know that trust fund is not being raided.”
The Romney campaign, meanwhile, released a new Spanish-language television ad Wednesday called “No Podemos Mas” (We No Longer Can). It highlights unemployment among Hispanics of more than 10 percent and says 2 million more Hispanics are living in poverty since Obama took office. Drawing a contrast to Obama’s 2008 slogan, “Yes, we can,” the ad includes a voiceover in Spanish saying, “We’ve got to tell them we no longer can.”
The Romney campaign did not say where the ad would run or how much is being spent on it. The Latino vote, highly coveted this election season, has traditionally favored Democrats, and polls show Obama leading Romney by a wide margin among Latinos. But Latinos are also believed to constitute the fastest-growing group of independent voters.
In Iowa, Obama was being joined Wednesday by first lady Michelle Obama. The Obamas don’t campaign together that much, primarily because they are considered more valuable apart, when they can cover twice the terrain. The last time Michelle Obama joined her husband on the trail was in May, for a stadium rally in Columbus, Ohio, that the campaign billed as a formal kickoff of election season.
They will make two appearances in Iowa on Wednesday, wrapping up the president’s bus tour of the state with speeches in Dubuque and Davenport. Iowa is important to Obama, whose 2008 campaign took off after he won the state’s caucuses. But it is also more challenging this year, in part because Iowa’s minority population is smaller than in other states, where it insulates him from the erosion of popularity he has suffered among white, independent voters.