MOUNT VERNON, Iowa – President Obama today took his presidential debate “zingers” on the road to battleground Iowa, using the catchy sound bites in an effort to appeal to independent voters and women voters.
“Governor Romney has been running around talking about his five-point plan for the economy for quite some time, andas I pointed out last night and you guys heard yourselves, it’s really a one-point plan,” Obama told a packed gymnasium at Cornell College less than 24 hours after their face-to-face showdown.
“It says folks at the very top can play by their own set of rules. That’s why they can pay lower taxes than you do. Or they can use offshore accounts. Or they can invest in a company, bankrupt it, fire the workers, take away their pension, ship the jobs overseas and still make money doing it,” he said. “It’s the same philosophy that we saw in the previous administration, and I have seen too much pain and too much struggle to let this country go down that same road again.”
During Tuesday night’s presidential debate at Hofstra University, Obama used the same “one-point plan” retort to Romney’s discussion of tax cuts as the centerpiece of his proposal to create more jobs. His campaign aides said the line would be a new focal point of an effort to woo independent voters on the economy.
“Everybody here has heard of the New Deal, a fair deal. You’ve heard of the square deal? Mitt Romney’s trying to sell you a sketchy deal,” Obama said of the former governor’s lack of details on how to pay for the tax plan. “We’ve been there, we’re moving forward. That’s why I need your vote.”
Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams said the president was obfuscating the reality that 23 million Americans are still struggling for work and that he “has no ideas, no vision for the future, and is simply giving up.”
“The choice in this election couldn’t be clearer,” Williams said. “Mitt Romney has bold new ideas that will cut taxes for middle-class families, create 12 million new jobs with higher take-home pay, and cut spending to put our nation on a course toward a balanced budget.”
Obama and Democrats also signaled today that they were going on the offensive against Romney over his comment during the debate that he relied on “whole binders full of women” – binders prepared by women’s groups – to help select female cabinet members when he was governor of Massachusetts.
“I’ve got to tell you, we don’t have to collect a bunch of binders to find qualified, talented, driven young women,” Obama said, speaking about the need to employ more teachers.
He also renewed criticism of Romney for waffling on support for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act – the first bill Obama signed into law, which extended the statute of limitations for alleged victims of pay discrimination to sue their employers.
“When Governor Romney was asked about it, his campaign said, we’ll get back to you. That shouldn’t be a complicated question. Equal pay for equal work. I want my daughters paid just like somebody else’s sons are paid for the same job. That’s straightforward,” Obama said.
“Last night, Governor Romney’s top adviser finally admitted, no, the governor didn’t really support that bill. You don’t have to wait for an answer from me,” he added.
The event, Obama’s first stop following the Hofstra debate, marked his ninth visit to Iowa this year, as early voting is already underway.
Upon taking the stage, Obama joked with the crowd about his widely panned first 2012 debate performance in Denver, noting that he made notable improvements last night.
“I’m still trying to figure out, you know, how to get the hang of this thing – debating,” he kidded. “But we’re working on it, you know. We’ll keep on improving as time goes on. I’ve got one left.”
The third and final presidential debate is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 22, in Boca Raton, Fla.