Back on the stump in Ohio and Iowa, Romney and Obama trade jabs

CINCINNATI — Mitt Romney on Saturday aimed to keep his post-convention momentum going with a campaign stop in the battleground state of Ohio, while President Obama countered with the start of a campaign march through four swing states that he hopes will inject a jolt of energy into his re-election bid ahead of the Democratic National Convention next week in North Carolina.

Flanked by House Speaker John Boehner and Sen. Rob Portman, Mr. Romney told the several thousand people gathered to see him that Mr. Obama has dropped the ball when it comes to delivering on the sweeping promises he made during his 2008 presidential campaign – particularly on jobs.

“One of the promises he made was he was going to create more jobs, and today there are 23 million people who are out of work or have stopped looking for work or underemployed,” Mr. Romney said as the college football season got under way. “Let me tell you if you have a coach that’s zero and 23 million, you say it’s time to get a new coach. It’s time for America to see a winning season again, and we are going to bring it to them.”

Mr. Obama, meanwhile, campaigned in Iowa Saturday as he began a five-day trip that he hopes to use as a springboard into the Democratic convention in Charlotte, N.C., where he will be renominated. The president said Mr. Romney’s proposals “are retreads of the same policies that have been sticking it to the middle class for years.”

“He did not offer a single new idea” at the GOP convention, Mr. Obama told about 10,000 cheering supporters at an outdoor farming museum in Urbandale, Iowa, a suburb of Des Moines.

President Barack Obama walks with Air Force Col. Michael A. Minihan, commander, 89th Airlift Wing, from Marine One to Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

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President Barack Obama walks with Air Force Col. Michael A. Minihan, commander, ... more >

The president mocked the Republicans’ convention, which his advisers said he avoided watching.

“It was something to behold,” the president said. “Despite all the challenges we face in this recession, what they offered over those three days was, more often than not, an agenda that was better suited for the last century. You might as well have been watching it on black-and-white TV.”

When the crowd booed the GOP convention, Mr. Obama said, “Don’t boo. Vote.”

He also criticized the Republican nominee for failing to talk about Afghanistan in his acceptance speech.

Gov. Romney had nothing to say about Afghanistan, let alone offer a plan for the 33,000 troops who will come home” next month, he said.

Mr. Obama urged supporters to watch his acceptance speech at the Democratic convention.

“Thursday night, I will offer a better path,” he said, listing his proposals for education, health care, veterans’ care and other items.

The gap between the Republican and Democratic conventions serves as a preview of the two-month post-Labor Day sprint to Election Day, where both campaigns will be pouring more money into television and more energy into corralling the small herd of undecided voters into their respective camps.

Mr. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, was met by an energetic and roaring crowd inside a train station turned museum in Cincinnati. Several thousand more people greeted him and his running mate Rep. Paul Ryan at a shopping and dining complex along the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, Fla. – bringing an end to the biggest week of Mr. Romney’s career, where he became the first Mormon the win the nomination of either party.

Mr. Romney planned to spend the rest of the Labor Day weekend at lakefront home in Wolfboro, N.H. and the Associated Press reported that Kevin Madden, a senior Romney advisor, said the ex-governor would spend three days next week preparing – with the help if Mr. Portman – for the fall debate showdowns with Mr. Obama.

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