In Wisconsin, Obama takes jab at Romney’s ‘47 percent’ flap

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While Mitt Romney was in California on Saturday raising cash, President Obama made a campaign and fundraising swing through Wisconsin, a traditionally blue state that some Republicans think is in play this year, thanks to the presence of favorite son Paul Ryan on the Republican ticket.

“We can’t move forward if we have leaders who write off half the nation, calling them victims,” the president told a cheering crowd jammed into an outdoor arena Saturday afternoon in Milwaukee.

“I don’t see a lot of victims here today. I see hard-working Wisconsinites,” Mr. Obama said, referencing the flap this week over a secretly recorded tape in which Mr. Romney seemed to dismiss 47 percent of the electorate as “victims” who don’t pay income taxes and would not support his agenda of lower taxes.

Wisconsin hasn’t gone for a Republican presidential candidate since 1984, but after a year in which Republican Gov. Scott Walker beat back a union-led recall effort and Wisconsin Rep. Ryan was picked as Mr. Romney’s running mate, Republicans are optimistic that this is their year.

Polls in the state had tightened in recent weeks to the point that some political prognosticators were calling the race a tossup, but in the past week, polls show the president, who won the Badger State by almost 14 points in 2008, has moved out to a 5- to 14-point lead over Mr. Romney.

Still, the president urged supporters not to take anything for granted as the race enters the home stretch, with only 45 days to Election Day.

Mr. Walker said the president’s visit to Milwaukee was proof that Mr. Obama is in trouble in the state.

“With his visit today, President Obama admits he has a Wisconsin problem,” the governor said. “It’s time for a change, and Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have the vision and experience required to confront our challenges and lead us toward prosperity for future generations.”

Mr. Romney, who in August lost the fundraising battle to Mr. Obama for the first time in months, was scheduled for fundraisers in San Diego and Los Angeles on Saturday, and is headed for Colorado on Sunday before reuniting with Mr. Ryan on Monday in Ohio.

In a taped interview with “60 Minutes,” Mr. Romney said a campaign that has came under fire this week from fellow Republicans unhappy about the candidate’s secretly recorded comments dismissing 47 percent of the electorate as “people who pay no income tax.”

“We’re tied in the polls … There are some days we’re up. There are some days we’re down,” he told Scott Pelley. “… It doesn’t need a turnaround. We’ve got a campaign which is tied with an incumbent president to the United States.”

Mr. Ryan, campaigning alongside former Gov. Jeb Bush in swing-state Florida on Saturday, told the Cuban-American crowd of supporters in Miami’s Little Havana that the Romney-Ryan administration would get tough with the Castro regime in Cuba.

“In a Mitt Romney administration, we will not keep practicing this policy of appeasement; we will be tough on this brutal dictator. All it has done is rewarded more despotism … we will help those pro-democracy groups. We will be tough on Castro, tough on Chavez. And it’s because we know that’s the right policy for our country,” he said.

Stopping later Saturday in Orlando, Mr. Ryan criticized the president for putting the U.S. space program “on a path where we are conceding our global position as the unequivocal leader in space.”

Mr. Obama’s running mate, Joseph R. Biden, was also campaigning, speaking to union activists in New Hampshire.

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