Romney casts himself as uniter, Obama as divider

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — On the heels of a new poll showing him struggling to make inroads in Ohio, Mitt Romney stumped in New Hampshire, Iowa and here in Colorado on Saturday, telling tens of thousands of voters in the battleground states that four more years of President Obama would generate more of the partisan gridlock that has slowed the nation’s economic recovery and hurt the jobs market.

Seizing on Mr. Obama’s suggestion this week that voters exact “revenge” by voting against Mr. Romney come Election Day, the Republican presidential nominee said the remark is emblematic of Mr. Obama’s first term in office.

“He is asking his supporters to vote for revenge,” Mr. Romney said at a campaign stop at a jet hanger here.” I am asking you to vote for love of country.”

Speaking at a campaign stop in Ohio on Friday, Mr .Obama told voters not to boo at the mention of Mr. Romney’s name, but to “vote.” “No, no, no. Don’t boo. Vote,” Obama said. “Vote. Voting is the best revenge.”

The remarks offered Mr. Romney another opening to hammer home his campaign theme that he has a proven track record of reaching across the political aisle to carve out solutions to the thorniest of public issues — and Mr. Obama does not.

In this image made with a fisheye lens, Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, center, shakes hands with supporters in a hangar as he campaigns at Dubuque Regional Airport, in Dubuque, Iowa, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

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In this image made with a fisheye lens, Republican presidential candidate and ... more >

During the three-state swing, Mr. Romney warned that a second Obama term would generate more partisanship and set into motion a repeat of last year’s showdown over the nation’s borrowing limit, which put Congress on the brink of defaulting on the nation’s debt.

“You know the debt ceiling is going to come up again and there’ll be threats of shutting down the government or perhaps default of one kind of another,” Mr. Romney said in New Hampshire. “And that means an economy that gets chilled and jobs that are harder to find. The president just can’t work with Congress. He’s proven that time and time again.”

This year’s compromise debt deal, which Mr. Romney’s running mate Rep. Paul Ryan supported, allowed the nation to raise its borrowing limit to avoid defaulting, but the deal is set to trigger an automatic $500 billion in defense cuts.

Mr. Romney has been training his political fire on the stump at the automatic cuts, known as “sequesters.”

Responding to Mr. Romney’s remarks Saturday, Obama campaign spokesperson Lis Smith said the GOP standard-bearer will say anything to get elected. Ms. Smith also said the the bipartisan image Mr. Romney is pushing on the campaign trail is bogus and the policies he is pushing are the same ones that got the nation into the “economic mess in the first place.”

Mitt Romney can’t be trusted to work across the aisle as president because he’s never done it before,” she said. “Despite his claims in the final days of this race, Romney refused to work with Democrats as governor.”

Mr. Romney’s three-state swing comes to a close later today with two stops in Colorado, and coincides with a new NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll that shows Mr. Obama sitting atop a six-point lead over Mr. Romney in Ohio.

That could spell trouble for Mr. Romney. No Republican has ever carved out a path to the White House without Ohio.

A Rasmussen Reports poll, meanwhile, showed the race is tied in Ohio and the latest Real Politics average of polls shows Mr. Obama up by nearly 3 points.

Without Ohio, Mr. Romney’s path to victory — assuming he captures North Carolina — could hinge in large part on the outcome of the race in the three states he visited Saturday.

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