Romney focuses on middle class

Obama criticizes plan, says it will help rich with tax cuts

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GOLDEN, Colo. — Mitt Romney touted his five-point economic plan here Thursday, saying it would create 12 million jobs, while President Obama in Florida called it a scheme to give millions in tax cuts to the richest Americans.

Mr. Romney, promoting his new “Plan for a Stronger Middle Class,” drew cheers by calling for energy independence, parental choice in education, a crackdown on unfair trade practices, shrinking the deficit, and repealing the Affordable Care Act.

“If we do those five things … you’re going to see this economy come roaring back,” Mr. Romney told an enthusiastic crowd here at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. “This is the path to more jobs and more take-home pay and a brighter future for you and your kids.”

In an appearance at Rollins College in Orlando, Fla., Mr. Obama said the Romney plan would result in a tax cut of $250,000 per year to Americans who earn $3 million per year, forcing a tax increase for the middle class.

“They have tried to sell us this trickle-down tax-cut fairy dust before,” Mr. Obama said. “And guess what — it didn’t work then; it will not work now. It’s not a plan to create jobs. It is not a plan to reduce the deficit. It is not a plan to build our middle class. It is not a plan to move our economy forward. It takes us backwards to a place we don’t need to be.”

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Mr. Romney, meanwhile, gave the president a “report card” that had him failing to achieve the economic goals he set during the 2008 campaign, including reducing the federal deficit and creating jobs.

“He will be able to speak eloquently and describe all the great things he’s doing and what he’s going to do, but look at the results,” Mr. Romney said.

The back-and-forth over the economy comes in advance of Friday’s monthly jobs report, which is expected to show an addition of about 100,000 jobs in July, slightly above the 75,000 jobs added per month from April to June, but below the 226,000 per month recorded earlier this year.

The president plans to capitalize on the jobs report with a White House appearance Friday surrounded by families who would benefit from the election year middle-class tax cut he’s urging Congress to adopt.

In his first visit to Colorado since the Aurora theater shooting, Mr. Romney said he met earlier with Makayla Hicks, who was shot in the mouth in the massacre. Twelve people died, and 58 were wounded.

“Across the country, people are thinking about Aurora, and the tragedy there and the lives that have been lost and the lives changed forever,” said Mr. Romney. “We love you, and we pray for you. You’re in our hearts and in our prayers.”

He appeared later with 10 Republican governors at Basalt High School near Aspen, including rising GOP stars Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal, South Carolina’s Nikki R. Haley, New Mexico’s Susana Martinez, Virginia’s Bob McDonnell and New Jersey’s Chris Christie, for a conference hosted by the Republican Governors Association.

Mr. Romney also had an evening fundraiser scheduled in Aspen. The former Massachusetts governor previously raised an estimated $2.5 million at a July 9 fundraiser in Aspen.

Colorado is considered a key swing state for both presidential candidates, with hardly a week going by without a visit from one of the contenders. Mr. Obama met with victims of the shooting 10 days ago and is expected to fly in for campaign rallies and fundraisers next week.

The president, who made a campaign stop in Leesburg, Va., after his Florida trip, continued to paint Mr. Romney as a defender of the rich, saying that “we do not need more tax cuts for folks who have done very, very well.”

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