“This is what an angry and desperate presidency looks like. President Obama knows better, promised better, and America deserves better,” Romney told a roaring crowd of about 5,000 supporters in Chillicothe. “His campaign strategy is to smash America apart and then try to cobble together 51 percent of the pieces. If an American president wins that way, we all lose.”
Romney added, “Mr. President, take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago and let us get about rebuilding and reuniting America.”
Throughout the summer, Romney has taken umbrage at the tone of the Democratic advertising barrage, but this week he ratcheted up his criticism. He and his advisers wrote much of the speech Tuesday on his campaign bus riding between stops in Ohio.
His campaign is also airing negative television advertisements. The latest, released Tuesday, accuses Obama of diverting more than $700 billion from Medicare to pay for his health-care overhaul.
“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 in a statement.
Romney and his advisers have been using increasingly hot language to charge that the president has abandoned his 2008 themes of hope and change. But they became particularly incensed by an ad from Priorities USA, a pro-Obama super PAC, that suggests Romney is to blame for the death of a woman whose husband lost his job and health insurance after Bain Capital, a firm Romney co-founded, took over the steel mill where he worked.
Romney’s selection of Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.), an intellectual leader of the conservative movement, as his running mate was expected to crystallize the policy differences between the Democratic and Republican tickets and elevate the conversation to a substantive debate about the federal debt and entitlement programs.
But the high-minded campaign has not come to be. Four days in, Romney’s campaign accused Biden of alluding to slavery, Obama joked about the time Romney drove his station wagon with the family dog on the roof, and Romney called the president “intellectually exhausted.”
And the candidates have yet to enter the post-Labor Day sprint, when things normally get tough.
Since Ryan’s selection, Democrats have celebrated the chance to use his controversial budget plan to alter the Medicare program to hammer the newly minted Republican ticket.