With Tuesday’s end to the campaign season quickly approaching, President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney are looking for any edge they can find.
On Saturday, Romney unveiled a new television ad and stump speech line criticizing Obama for telling a crowd that voting for him would be “the best revenge.”
“Vote for revenge?” Romney asked supporters at a weekend New Hampshire rally. “Let me tell you what I’d like to tell you: Vote for love of country. It is time we lead America to a better place.”
GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan echoed Romney at a Saturday rally in Ohio, turning Obama’s 2008 campaign slogans against him.
“We don’t believe in revenge,” Ryan said. “We believe in change, in hope. We really do.”
Obama’s “revenge” comments were made at a Springfield, Ohio, rally on Friday after supporters booed when the president mentioned Romney.
“No, no, no, don’t boo — vote,” Obama said. “Vote. Voting is the best revenge.”
The Obama campaign defended the comments, saying the boos came after Obama blasted the Romney campaign for releasing misleading ads suggesting Chrysler was outsourcing its Toledo manufacturing jobs to China because of the 2009 auto bailouts. That ad has been criticized as hugely misleading by several fact checkers and officials from Chrysler and General Motors.
For his part, Obama is presenting himself as someone voters know and trust and Romney as a political opportunist.
“You want to know that your president means what he says and says what he means,” Obama said at a Saturday Ohio rally. “And after four years as president, you know me.”
Since the first presidential debate last month, Romney has been presenting himself as someone who can work with members of both parties to break through gridlock. Central Michigan University political science professor and chairperson Orlando Perez said Romney would have his work cut out for him, though.
“Given the likely partisan division of Congress after the election, I don’t think Romney will be able to garner any more bipartisanship than Obama,” Perez said.
The presidential race remains close nationally. The RealClearPolitics polling average finds the two candidates virtually tied nationally, with Obama slightly ahead 47.5 percent to 47.3 percent.
That being said, Obama holds small but steady leads in many swing states, including Ohio, considered to be the most crucial state for both candidates. A win there would likely secure re-election for Obama.
The RealClearPolitics average of Ohio polls finds Obama ahead by nearly three points there, 49.3 percent to 46.4 percent.