Over three days and a dozen stops across this battleground state this week, Obama offered a road map of how he will appeal to the moderate and independent voters who will help decide the 2012 election.
He talked about the usual subjects of taxes and preserving the government investments, such as education aid, that help the middle class. But he also cast himself as the one who better understands — and has actually lived — the plight of such voters.
“We understand what our parents and our grandparents and our great-grandparents taught us — if you work hard, this is the country to be,” Obama told one Iowa crowd. “You may meet some barriers some times, there may be some hurdles, but you can’t be stopped when you decide on something. And that’s what’s at stake in this election. Do we affirm those values and pass them on to our kids and our grandkids just like we got them from our parents and our grandparents?”
Ryan’s entrance into the race Saturday has emboldened Obama to intensify the contrast. Ryan is the “ideological leader” of the House Republicans, the president said — the author of a GOP budget proposal that would make deep cuts in federal programs and grant $5 trillion in tax breaks, much of which would go to wealthy Americans.
Disagreeing with Romney’s ‘vision’
“He is an articulate spokesman for Governor Romney’s vision,” Obama said of Ryan in Dubuque. “I just happen to fundamentally disagree with his vision. My opponent and his friends in Congress, they believe that if you just get rid of more regulations on big corporations and big banks, and then you give more tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans, that that will automatically lead to jobs and prosperity for ordinary families. And I’m not exaggerating here, that’s their basic economic plan.”
Romney and Ryan have not been letting Obama’s rhetoric go unchallenged. Both have been talking plenty about how Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act reduced the Medicare budget by more than $700 billion, which Romney has said that he would restore. (Ryan has offered no details about his own proposal to overhaul Medicare, which adopted many of the same cuts that the health law included.)
“The president’s campaign says this raid of Medicare to pay for Obamacare, which leads to fewer services for current seniors, is an achievement,” Ryan told an Ohio crowd this week. “Do you think raiding Medicare to pay for Obamacare is an achievement?”
“No!” yelled the crowd at the Miami University Engineering Quad, which was a mix of students and older supporters.
“Well, neither do I. . . . It’s not right. He knows it. He can’t defend it,” Ryan said.