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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Obama in a Dem landslide,I bet he didn't sign the crook lobbyist rover nitwitquest pledge like the bafoon romney!!!!
Choice!? Is he serious? The only choices available this November will be Mitt Romney, who is a George W. Bush clone, and Barack Obama, who is George W. Bush on steroids. Some choice.
Romney is out of touch with america..Let vote all the republican out of the office.
Newt said this on MSNBS Al Sharpton show that the republican is for the ridge. The republican had meeting to make
sure Obama does not pass any agenda. Newt thanks for letting america know who the republican part is ridge.
Obama should have that goof romney STOGES arrested for stalking !!!
Regardless of who it is, I'm inclined to favor anyone who has legions of billionaires trying to take him down. If I judge someone by the enemies he makes, Obama looks pretty good by comparison.
choice is clear, 4 more years of the stench, or do you finally flush to toilet and send this mess where it belongs
It's all about HOW not to rebuild an economy that was destroyed by the GOP.
Unfortunately, Rmoney is yet to come up with a PLAN except for more tax cuts for the rich.
Please go back to Illinois Mr. President. America deserves a private sector proponent in the Whitehouse. Enough of this pro government propaganda. And enough of your same old tired rhetoric. "Cool" is what high school students vote for. We are not high school students.
We've got your back Mr. President.
You will be re-elected because the majority of Americans are NOT stupid, and can clearly see what is at stake here, and why they have made such a concerted effort from DAY ONE of your presidency to take you down and make you a one-termer.
You're doing everything possible to give our country solid footing, not a shaky temporary foundation.
You're fighting tooth and nail to save its' middle class from the talons of the vultures.
You will be re-elected. America's eyes have been opened by an out of control obstructive and destructive GOP, and we've got your back.
Obama 2012. Because even "AMERCIA" deserves better than a Romney.
O my Dear US Citizens, an outsider like me, who has nothing to gain or lose from your election but has followed your country's fortunes closely, says, "USE YOUR INTELLIGENCE AND CHOOSE OBAMA!
Yep, yep yep. Thank you.
Time is changing fast we are at the mercy of the job creator more than ever. I was at the airport this morning and it was sad to see there are only few human beings standing to host the people/travelers everything else was computer check in. If there is no government to regulate a human right to work us all will be replaced by a machine. The job creator will create job for computer with their tax break me and you will be waiting a miracle somehow to trickle down with the mercy of Mitt and his friends. That is why we need a progressive leader who understands the common men and women straggles to become the POTUS.
While Obama has been working to help the middle class recover from a GOP recession, the Republicans in Congress have introduced: 467 bills on Govt Investigation, 604 bills on Tax cuts for the rich, 46 bills on Abortion, 113 bills on Religion, 36 bills on Marriage, 72 bills on Firearms, AND BLOCKED THE AMERICAN JOB ACT!!
@Investor Advisor: You are part of the reason we are in this mess. People like you are arrogant greedy frauds. You need to be indicted and in prison. There is a special place in Hell for people like you.
Amen to that!!
Past 20 years CNN is my only news source, today CNN interrupt the president speech I have to switch to MSNBC watch rest of the speech
Canceling the show won’t improve the ratings CNN air the full speech
Dominican mama 4 Obama "We've got your back Mr. President."
Shouldn't he have our back? Isn't that his job? Why do liberals go out of their way to support him even with the massive failures of his administration? I don't see any area of policy that he has done a good job with. It's time for another to have his chance.
If Moderate Independent is like most Democrats I know he has an Investor Advisor of his own, so I wouldn't take his comment too serious. Most Democrats are very wealthy, they just try to make us think they don't have money.
Personally I am just a touch bored with the Republican strategy of taking anything Obama does and on principle criticising it and saying its wrong. One could sort of expect that provided it was followed up with what they would have done differently, i.e thier policy or solution, but they do not... its easy to criticise much more difficult to actually do something that works.
Boehner laying out house legisaltion on : "jobs" is all tax cuts repealing ACA ( how that creates jobs defeats me) and not one is budget paid for = deficit increasing and debt adding. never mind the Budget Act breaking increase in military spending ( job creating) also not fully funded and most of the partial funding coming from trying to repeal part of ACA which they know Obama would veto. No wonder Harry Reid does not waste Senate time on such garbage. Most of those so called bills need a hole punched in the top left hand corner and then strung up in the smallest room in the House of representatives where they might just be useful or constructively and economically used.
I listened to his speech and if memory serves me right one of the ways to improve our economy and the unemployment according to Obama is education yet he did not have the education to get the job of president.
I vote for the Harvard grad any day over the Prep-school Bully. Enough said. Obama2012
There you go, Mr. President! I am not rich, but, I would give my weekly paycheck just to see Willards face in November when he learns that he is loser!
lesson the American people are in a global world of computer system, robots and cheap Chinese labor, the Chinese are investing billions to educate their workers to take over American companies technical jobs, while the repubs are cutting education to those same jobs. big corporation are flooding mitten with money because they know mitten will have a free trade agreement with Communist China. this will pit Chinese slave workers with American middle class workers on the same playing field, Chinese companies won't come here because they cannot afford to pay American middle class wages, but American companies will flood china taking their companies with them for Chinese slave
labor. how can American compete with nearly two and a half billion spenders, who are willing to do every thing to get our jobs.
It is a Republican myth that things have gotten worse under Obama. We have gone from the 750,000 jobs a month we were losing after 8 years of GOP Presidential leadership to now 27 consecutive months of private sector job growth. The stock market is up about 100% since March of 09 a few weeks after Obama took office. We have gone from the brink of another Depression to 9 consecutive quarters of economic expansion. Obama made things worse? Must help them sleep better to think so, doesn't make it true.
More unicorns and rainbows from Obama. More unrealistic, blurry visions for the future and no solid plans. And, as expected, no real assessment of his own policies and the economic cloud they've created.