Reported by Lisa Lerer and Julianna Goldman
Campaigning in New Hampshire this morning, Republican Mitt Romney called out President Barack Obama for talking about “revenge.”
He was pointing to Obama’s own campaign words in Ohio the day before.
“No, no, no – don’t boo, vote,” Obama told supporters who were booing Romney’s name, in Springfield, Ohio. “Vote. Voting is the best revenge.”
“Vote for revenge?” Romney asked voters in Portsmouth, New Hampshire today. “I’d like to tell him what I’d tell you: vote for love of country. It is time we lead America to a better place.”
Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki defended the president’s Ohio remarks, saying the president was repeating a line he always uses in the context of Romney’s TV ad about Jeep sending manufacturing to China that’s “frightening workers in Ohio and thinking, falsely, that they’re not going to have a job.”
“The message he was sending is, `If you don’t like the policies, if you don’t like the plan that Governor Romney is putting forward, if you think it’s a bad deal for the middle class, then you have power,” Psaki said. “You can go to the voting booths and you can cast your ballot. It’s nothing more complicated than that.”
The heat is rising in a wintry weekend of fast-paced campaign closings.
With Election Day just three days away, Romney is departing on a three time-zone tour of competitive states, stopping today in Iowa, Colorado as well as New Hampshire. He’ll end his race where he first declared his candidacy, back in New Hampshire for an evening rally on the eve of Election Day.
“It’s been a long road,” wife Ann Romney said as she stopped by the back of the campaign plane with a tray full of pastries for reporters and Secret Service agents. “It was very emotional when I gave my last address.”
The president is campaigning again today in Ohio, with the latest polls showing a five percentage point lead for him in the state that has been essential for any Republican winning the White House. He will travel to Milwaukee and Dubuque, Iowa, before a late-night appearance with former President Bill Clinton in Bristow, Virginia tonight. This will be the 27th event that Clinton has attended for Obama, three together so far. Their joint appearance tonight and in New Hampshire tomorrow will make it five for the two together.
At three stops in Ohio yesterday, Obama hammered Romney over the ad — called “inaccurate” and “misleading” by General Motors Co. (GM) and Chrysler Group LLC — that implies Chrysler, following the auto bailout, expanded Jeep production plants in China at the expense of jobs in the state.
While Chrysler has said the expansion won’t shift jobs from the U.S., Obama said over the last few weeks Jeep plant workers have been calling their employers asking if it’s true that jobs are being moved to China.
“They’re creating new jobs right now — not in China — right here in Ohio, right here in the United States of America,” Obama said yesterday. “It was the right thing to do.”
Former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, a Democrat, called Romney’s ads there “a desperate act” that could seal his defeat in Ohio.
Obama “can’t run from the facts,” said Chris Maloney, a Romney spokesman. “As a result of his handling of the auto bailout, American taxpayers stand to lose $25 billion and GM and Chrysler are expanding their production overseas.”