Obama and Romney go tit for tat on economy

President Barack Obama has launched a tough new tax-equality pitch in a TV ad asserting that Republican rival Mitt Romney’s economic proposals would mean cuts for the wealthiest Americans and higher bills for everyone else.

Romney hit back with a new spot timed to Obama’s appearance yesterday in Florida and calling the president a “disappointment” for a statewide economic picture that has not improved under his watch.

The latest offensives come as Obama and Romney take their campaigns to three of the most contested states: Florida, Colorado and Virginia. It also comes as a bitterly divided Congress pushes toward summer break with votes that centre on front-burner issues like taxes and spending.

The Obama ad, which is airing in eight states, cites a report by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Centre that argues Romney has paid a lower proportion of his income in taxes than many people of lesser means. “He pays less, you pay more,” the ad says.

Romney’s response ad shows footage of Obama giving a speech in 2008 and lamenting the state of Florida’s economy. The spot notes that Florida still suffers from high unemployment, record home foreclosures and more of the state’s residents living in poverty. “Barack Obama: What a disappointment,” the ad says.

Besides Florida, Obama also was stopping in Virginia. Romney was headed to Colorado to appear with 10 Republican governors, including some mentioned as potential running mates, at an event near Aspen.

Aides said Romney would announce plans to achieve energy independence by 2020 by boosting domestic production of natural gas, oil and coal. He also will release a new “presidential accountability scorecard” suggesting Obama hasn’t delivered on economic promises, Eric Fehrnstrom said.

He said it was “shameful” that the president hasn’t done more to outline a policy agenda for his second term.

At the same time, Romney’s advisers could not outline how he would achieve his goals on tax reform and energy independence.

As if to emphasise the challenge facing the presidential contenders, the Federal Reserve on Wednesday said the US economy was losing strength. It appeared to signal an inclination to take steps to stimulate job creation if the economic deceleration continued.

The next major marker of economic health comes today, when the government announces July hiring and unemployment trends.


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