CHILLICOTHE, OH – Mitt Romney used the final rally on his five-state bus tour to paint President Obama as an "intellectually exhausted" leader, forced to resort to "angry and desperate" tactics in his battle for re-election.
"This is an election in which we should be talking about the path ahead, but you don't hear any answers coming from President Obama’s re-election campaign,” Romney said. “That’s because he's intellectually exhausted, out of ideas, and out of energy. And so his campaign has resorted to diversions and distractions, to demagoguing and defaming others. It’s an old game in politics; what’s different this year is that the president is taking things to a new low."
While stumping in Ohio, the Republican presidential candidate preached to a receptive audience. President Obama focused on energy issues as well, praising wind power while campaigning in Iowa. And VP contender Paul Ryan began polishing his stump speech, laced with attacks on Obama's leadership. NBC's Peter Alexander reports.
The speech, delivered before several thousand in the town square of Ohio's first capital city, was designed to contrast then-candidate Obama's soaring language of hope and change with the mud-slinging, increasingly nasty tone of this election’s TV ads and campaign trail rhetoric.
"This is what an angry and desperate presidency looks like," Romney said. "President Obama knows better, promised better and America deserves better."
"Over the last four years, this president has pushed Republicans and Democrats about as far apart as they can go,” Romney continued. “And now he and his allies are pushing us all even further apart by dividing us into groups. He demonizes some. He panders to others. His campaign strategy is to smash America apart and then try to cobble together 51 percent of the pieces."
Mitt Romney's running mate, VP contender Paul Ryan, has a voting record that – at times – conflicts with his political identity as a fiscal conservative. NBC's Kelly O'Donnell reports.
On a day that began with a battle over Medicare policy and that descended into a heated back-and-forth over charged comments made by Vice President Joe Biden in southern Virginia, Romney decried the negative tone of the campaign – even as he went on the attack.
"Mr. President, take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago and let us get about rebuilding and reuniting America," Romney said.
The Obama campaign responded with a statement pointing out Romney's campaign, too, is engaged in negative attacks over the airwaves.
“Governor Romney's comments tonight seemed unhinged, and particularly strange coming at a time when he's pouring tens of millions of dollars into negative ads that are demonstrably false,” Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said.