Cleveland, Ohio (CNN) – As President Barack Obama found himself literally on opposite sides of Mitt Romney Thursday – the rivals were campaigning on either ends of battleground Ohio – he sought to frame the election as a choice between two dramatically disparate views on how to fix the economy.
"What's holding us back is a stalemate in Washington of two fundamentally different views of which direction America should take. This election is your chance to break that stalemate," Obama said.
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At only his second official campaign event this cycle, Obama told a vocal crowd gathered at Cuyahoga Community College that November "is not simply a choice between two candidates or two political parties, but between two paths for our country."
The economy is once again front and center in this election year's message wars, a result of a slew of disappointing economic reports – including a particularly unsettling study released by the Federal Reserve that found the median family net worth had dropped nearly 40% between 2007 and 2010.
Just minutes after Romney told a crowd in Cincinnati that Obama's record is "long on words and short on action that created jobs," the president warned that Romney's proposals are nothing new.
"If you want to give the policies of the last decade another try, then you should vote for Mr. Romney," Obama said. "You should vote for his allies in Congress. You should take them at their word, and they will lead us down this path."
"Mr. Romney is qualified to deliver on that plan," he said.
And while Romney's proposals call for fixing the economy "from the top down," Obama said he will focus issues such as education, research and development, and tax reform in order to build up the middle class.
But a Romney campaign spokesman said it is Obama who is "is out of new ideas."
"That was an empty speech from a desperate President who is out of new ideas and out of time to keep his promises," said Ryan Williams, who has made a habit of showing up at opponents' campaign events.
"Unlike President Obama, Mitt Romney understands that the private sector is not 'doing fine' and he will promote new pro-growth policies that will turn around our struggling economy," Williams said, in reference to the president's now infamous comment made during a press conference he called last week to discuss the economy amid the recent bad news.
Obama was referring to the fact that 4.3 million jobs had been added in the private sector in the last 27 months, but the sound-bite friendly comment quickly became fodder for his opponents who said the remark showed he is out of touch with most Americans.
In no time at all, the comments were the subject of new web videos, and the Romney campaign released a TV ad Thursday that repeated the president's remark while highlighting disappointing economic statistics.
Obama tried to make light of his misstep Thursday, saying in this election, "there will be no shortage of gaffes and controversies that keep both campaigns busy and give the press something to write about. You may have heard I recently made my own unique contribution to that process."
"But though we will have many differences, there is one place where I stand in complete agreement with my opponent. This election is about our economic future," Obama said.
That is particularly true in the reliably battleground state of Ohio, which is shaping up to be one of the most competitive states in the nation, and is now the first state to host both campaigns on the same day this election cycle.
A recent Ohio poll showed Obama edging out Romney, but within the margin error. Romney trailed Obama by only one percentage point in the most recent national survey, which showed Romney ahead of the president when voters were asked which candidate would be better at creating jobs.
But another poll recent poll indicates that Obama may gain traction if he continues to blame his predecessor for the nation's economic decline, and will surely encourage him to continue to tie Romney to those unpopular policies.
A Gallup poll released Thursday showed 68% of Americans believe Bush deserves a great deal or moderate amount of blame for the fiscal situation, compared to 52% who said Obama deserved the blame.
– CNN Political Producer Gabriella Schwarz contributed to this report.
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The choice is as clear and stark as it gets, moving the country forward toward prosperity and peace again or back to the brink of depression and more wars of choice. toward fairness in incomes and taxation or back to the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. forward toward cleaner energy and a healthier planet or back to the same old filthy fuels that are literally killing our world. the only way to break the stalemate is to re-elect Obama and rid the congress of the republican infestation that's held this country back, for political gain, for the past three and a half years!
I really have to wonder what packages that Romney can point that have worked in the past that he is promoting. The private sector has a habit of getting away with anything it can. Why should we continue to believe the GOP that wants to let it be unrestricted?
Romney and the for that matter entire set of GOP's have only one plan. Give tax cuts and then enjoy the office. Rest will happen as if by magic. This is an Ostrich approach. When in danger, bury your head in sand. The danger will vanish. Now the other way requires hard work, diligence, a vision, patience for results, and so on......The USA of today has a fundamental mismatch at many levels. Skills of common man (worker), type of future industries, the changing world dynamics, etc. Fixing all this takes time and effort. And the effort is even more when you have a disruptive Congress with GOP majority on hand. USA has almost lost its no. one position to China. If they do not carry out the change as is being talked about by Obama they will slide further down.. Remember, there was a time when the sun never set in British empire. And where is Britain today. At best an important player. But nowhere near the top. Similar fate awaits US if the middle class does not wake up.
THIS JUST IN: Romney's campaign spokesperson replied to Obama's speech: "I'm rubber, you're glue... whatever I say will bounce off me and stick to you."
I think it is hallarious that Teavangelicals will overlook the fact that Romney is a Mormon just to get a minority out of the Whitehouse.
Facts are facts and Mormons are not Christians. If you don't believe me, ask them if Jesus is the one and only son of God. Go ahead. They will stutter and say that they believe Jesus is A son of God, but will try to pass that off as a small matter. Only when you pursue the question to you realize that they believe that every human is a son of God and therefore the birth of Jesus is in no way more special than the birth of anyone else.
If you do not believe that Jesus is the one and only son of God, then you are not a Christian. Our current President is a Christian. Romney is not. And yet Teavangelicals will vote for him as if this doesn't matter to them. The truth is that it does matter to them greatly, but not as much as Obama's race does.
Here are the different views:
GOP = Corporations are people, and human beings without wealth are nothing but pawns to be played and exploited. Let the race to the bottom begin!
Democrats = Our country and her people deserve investment in their education, infrastructure, research and a standard of living reflective of our hard work and innovation.
Pretty easy to decide, if you ask me.
Hey, did you hear how Ann Romney's horse, Rafalca, is competing in the 2012 Olympics in the dressage event? It just placed third in the U.S. Equestrian Federation national dressage championships in Gladstone, N.J.
BTW, for those of you not familiar with dressage, the "New York Daily News" explains it’s a “highly-stylized and esoteric sport in which riders guide horses through a series of complex, dance-like maneuvers.”
Or, as some call it, “horse ballet.”
Mittens: Now THAT'S a person in touch with the wants and needs of the average American – NOT!