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Latest update: 18/10/2012
Obama and Romney trade barbs on campaign trail
US President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney were back on the campaign trail Wednesday, a day after sparring before millions of potential voters. Bruce Springsteen gave Obama a boost in announcing his support for the president.
By FRANCE 24 (with wires) (text)
US President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney drew swords once again on Wednesday as both men hit the campaign trial in the increasingly acrimonious battle for the White House.
The animosity evident in Tuesday’s rancorous TV debate showed no signs of easing as the rival candidates tried to win over voters in key states with just three weeks to go before the election.
Obama, who was widely considered to have come out on top in the debate, visited Ohio and Iowa, two crucial battleground states in the contest for the White House, whereas Romney took the fight to Virginia.
All three states are seen as must-win states for Romney if he is to stand any chance of ousting Obama on November 6.
But the president is clearly up for the fight and was back in a bullish mood on Wednesday, launching withering attacks on his rival.
'Binders full of women'
Obama took the opportunity to mock Romney for telling the 65 million people who tuned in to Tuesday night's debate that he had combed through “binders full of women” while recruiting for his cabinet when he was governor of Massachusetts.
Since the debate, that comment has gone viral online, with the phrase trending on Twitter. A Facebook page and a website were also set up to mock Romney’s unfortunate choice of words.
Speaking of the need to recruit more female mathematics and science teachers, Obama told a crowd gathered at a college in Iowa: “We don’t have to collect a bunch of binders to find qualified, talented, driven young women, ready to learn and teach in these fields right now.”
Romney also reached out to women in an attempt to limit any damage his “binders” comment may have caused. The multimillionaire told a crowd of supporters in Virginia that “the president has failed America’s women”.
Romney was also in a combative mood as he delivered a speech in front of 8,000 supporters in Leesburg.
He blasted Obama as a slick salesman who talked a good game four years ago but has left the country in bad shape.
“The president’s policies are running on fumes,” Romney boomed.
The latest polls suggest that the contest is too close to call. The respected RealClearPolitics average of polls showed just a 0.4 percent lead for Romney, prompting strategists from both campaigns to predict that the November 6 election will go down to the wire.
Much could yet rest on their final face-off in front of the cameras, which will take place in the key swing state of Florida on Monday.
Obama was clearly buoyed by his latest performance in front of the cameras, in what was a stark improvement on his listless showing in the first debate.
“I’m still trying to figure out how to get the hang of this thing, debating, but we’re working on it. We‘ll keep on improving as time goes on. I’ve got one left,” Obama told a crowd in Ohio.
Backing from 'The Boss'
Obama’s team revealed on Wednesday that he will be given a helping hand in his re-election campaign by the man known as "The Boss".
Rocker Bruce Springsteen plans to hit the campaign trail for Obama on Thursday, when he will appear with former Democratic president Bill Clinton in Ohio and Iowa.
“President Obama is our best choice because he has a vision of the United States as a place where we are all in this together,” Springsteen said in a statement distributed by the campaign.
“We’re still living through very hard times, but justice, equality and real freedom are not always a tide rushing in. They are more often a slow march, inch by inch, day after long day,” the statement said.
Springsteen is the latest celebrity to come out in support of one of the candidates. While Obama can boast The Boss, rapper Jay-Z and actress Eva Longoria among his backers, Romney can count on action film star Chuck Norris and rapper Kid Rock for support in addition to Clint Eastwood, a longtime Republican.
(FRANCE 24 with wires)