Romney: Obama riding a sinking ship

2012-10-24 09:00

Henderson - Republican White House hopeful Mitt Romney said President Barack Obama's campaign was "taking on water" on Tuesday, as the rivals barnstormed across toss-up states while seeking swing votes two weeks before election day.

With their debates behind them, the candidates raced out of the blocks and onto the campaign trail, hoping to corral the most ballots from the shrinking pool of Americans still undecided in a race heading for a photo finish.

At a rally in Henderson, Nevada, Romney claimed he had the momentum, saying the debates have "supercharged" his White House bid and brought him that much closer to victory on 6 November.

"His campaign is taking on water and our campaign is full speed ahead," he said.

The line was a clear swipe at the president's condescending comment during Monday night's debate when, reacting to Romney's repeated charge that the US Navy was undersized, Obama mocked his challenger by saying that working with the military was not like playing a game of Battleship.

It was a fitting jibe that marked the venomous tone Tuesday, when Obama warned a rowdy Florida crowd that they cannot rely on his "reckless" and elusive Republican foe.

Status quo candidacy

Romney was riding a tide of campaign optimism, however, and presenting himself as a voice of change, as he sought to peel away the states of Nevada and Colorado from Obama's column.

"His is a status quo candidacy. His is a message of going forward with the same policies of the last four years. And that's why his campaign is slipping. And that's why ours is gaining so much steam," Romney said.

He repeated his argument later on Tuesday in Colorado, where running mate Paul Ryan and 12 000 other people joined him at one of the more spectacular venues of the entire campaign: Red Rocks, the natural amphitheatre above Denver which has hosted the likes of rock acts U2 and Coldplay.

"We're in the home stretch now, and I think the people of Colorado are going to get us all the way there."

At Obama's rallies, the president's beseeching tone and the new urgency in his appeals reflect his failure to sink Romney in the debates, as well as signs that it is the Republican, not Obama, who has momentum in the tight race.

Romney has consistently attacked Obama for failing to lay out a roadmap for the next four years.

Political shape shifter

To counter such claims, the president finally rolled out a book detailing his second term agenda and unveiled a new ad laying out his closing argument.

But Romney's senior adviser Kevin Madden mocked the publication as a "glossy panic button", saying the debates had reshaped the race in the Republican's favour and that Obama was running out of time.

Obama sought to nail Romney as a political shape shifter after his opponent presented himself as a sober man of peace in Monday's debate, toning down previously hawkish foreign policy positions.

He diagnosed the Republican as suffering from "stage three Romnesia", accusing him of misrepresenting and simply forgetting a litany of past positions in a win-at-all costs effort.

"We are accustomed to seeing politicians change their positions from four years ago, we are not accustomed to seeing politicians change their positions from four days ago," Obama said.

"You can choose the foreign policy that's reckless and wrong, or you can choose one that is steady and strong," the president said before heading to Ohio, the perennial swing state that may decide the election.

Time running out

Later, in Dayton, Ohio, where one-in-eight jobs relies on the auto industry, he lacerated Romney over his opposition to an industry bailout he authorised in 2009.

"I bet on American workers. I bet on American manufacturing. I would do it again because that bet has paid off for Ohio and for America in a big way," said Obama, appearing before 9 500 people with Vice President Joe Biden.

Obama's verve on the stump on Tuesday was a stark contrast to his muted arguments earlier in the campaign, perhaps because time is running out to make his case to the American people.

Polls have shown movement towards Romney following a listless first debate performance by the president on 3 October that appears to have reset the race in his opponent's favour.

Romney led an average of national polls by 0.7% on Tuesday, but Obama still held small leads in states including Ohio, Iowa, Nevada, Wisconsin and New Hampshire that could make him president for a second time.

However, Obama now has little room for any erosion of his position, though he may be helped by the fact that some battleground states are already holding early voting.

New economic patriotism

Obama's blueprint for a second term will be distributed in toss-up states in e-mail, regular mail advertisements and by hand. Around 3.5 million copies will be printed and the plan is also available online.

The plan stresses job creation and investment in new technology and education and touts what Obama is calling "a new economic patriotism".

On Wednesday, Obama sets off on a 48-hour sprint through Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, Florida, Virginia and Ohio.

Romney will counter with stops in three of the same states: Iowa, Ohio and Virginia.

  • kobus.hattingh.5 - 2012-10-24 09:26

    Yip, with Obama at the wheel that American ship will sink real soon. Romney for President! :)

      raymond.dick.12 - 2012-10-24 17:54

      You cannot be serious. This Romney fellow will sink the whole world. He sounds just like Bush. The man is trouble with a capital 'T'. I am not sure how much/long ou have been following this. If it has ben for some time, then you must have noticed that Romney has reversed course on just about everything except Obamacare. He will say/do anything to get into office and then go back to his roots. Is this what you want in a leader who has influence over our lives? A liar and a warmongerer!

  • parys.fotograaf - 2012-10-24 09:37

    That ship will sink, no matter which one of them is at the wheel. Debt does not care about the wheel, neither does social spending. Those who build America are being pushed out by others who just consume but add very little.

      kobus.hattingh.5 - 2012-10-24 11:04

      Sounds like Obama Mugabe as he did the very same thing :)

      lesvokli.pitsiladi - 2012-10-24 16:08

      Casters - It was Bush's grand plan to start printing 100s of billions of dollars to bail out bankers he gave too much power to. And lets not even talk about the $3 trillion that Iraq alone cost the US. How would my kids (future generations) have benefited from the $3 trillion tax bill they are going to pay up for a war that had no meaning to them???

  • lesvokli.pitsiladi - 2012-10-24 14:13

    That ship starting sinking when illiterate Bush took office who bankrupted America with meaningless wars and gave too much power to corrupt banks and Romney is a zombie of Bush resurrecting from his hell hole grave. Do we want a repeat of 2000 - 2008? lets be serious now.

      stirrer.stirrer - 2012-10-24 15:14

      "grow a pair" - says someone who calls himself "casters balle". Yeah right.

      lesvokli.pitsiladi - 2012-10-24 15:47

      Casters...........why would I blame anything on apartheid??? Well Bush is to blame for 2 wars of which one of them was completely unnecessary. Although financial deregulation and liberalization started long before Bush, its really during his reign where the financial bubble gained its true momentum and burst. Romney is a religious fanatic idiot who still believes in post great depression economic models that are completely outdated. The gap between rich and poor is to big now to follow his radical capitalist policies. There needs to be a system in place that can bring back middle class America.

      raymond.dick.12 - 2012-10-24 18:24

      What's with this unbelievable support for Romney? The man is soooo dishonest and changes his tune just to get the vote. As for Iraq ~ It was an unjust war sold on the basis of lies. As much as the world is better off without Saddam, there can be no justification for that war. Romney will cause more wars ~ he as much as said so 4 weeks ago ~ which he denied on Tuesday ~ tell me this man is honest!

  • peter.calvet - 2012-10-24 17:47

    A different look at the two candidates: The Closer Versus the Strategist

  • thabelorale - 2012-10-24 18:15

    Let Americans go for Romney,then wait to see the world getting into trouble. He is no different than Bush, listen to what he says and look into his eyes !

  • thabelorale - 2012-10-24 18:28

    The comments here for those who support Romney mostly emanate from the anger by the boers at Malema and his ANC policies. This anger is shifted to any black man around the world by these boers but the situation in US is different. Romney has been agreeing with Obama throughout the debate, Ithought he is going to vote for Obama.

      raymond.dick.12 - 2012-10-24 18:42

      Dude that is a generalisation of note! If I had to generalise like you, it would go something like this. I thumbed up your previous comment thinking "Oh here is an intelligent black". Then I saw you second comment and thought, 'Oh he is just as dumb and racist as all other blacks" You see where I am going here? Please dude, stop the racial rhetoric, it serves no purpose.

      raymond.dick.12 - 2012-10-24 18:44

      PS: We do agree on Romney.

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