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Obama, Romney compete for mantle of change
Presidential politics » Job growth accelerating even as unemployment rate increases.

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Obama also is getting positive reviews for the federal response to the storm, which cut a path of death and destruction along the East Coast. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a frequent Romney surrogate who delivered the keynote address at the Republican National Convention, has repeatedly praised Obama for his attention to the stricken area.

On the Offensive • While Romney refrained from direct attacks on Obama in the immediate aftermath of the storm, both candidates went back on the offensive yesterday.

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Romney, 65, said Obama’s policies will keep job growth slow and incomes stagnant.

"He has a campaign slogan which is forward," Romney said. "I think forewarned is a better word."

Obama, 51, sought to recognize voter unease over the economy while also trying to drive home his campaign message that Romney has shifted on major issues. "You may not agree with every decision I’ve made; you may be frustrated at the pace of change, but you know what I believe, you know where I stand," he said in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Attack Lines

Obama yesterday dropped the sarcastic attack lines that were part of his stump speech in recent weeks, including a reference to his opponent’s changes in position as "Romnesia." He kept his focus on policy differences, mentioning Romney by name once in Wisconsin and Nevada and twice in Colorado.

"Their bet is on cynicism, but Nevada my bet is on you," Obama said in North Las Vegas, repeating a line he introduced earlier in Wisconsin. An election campaign that has been the costliest in U.S. history also may be one of the closest.

A Washington Post/ABC News national tracking poll released yesterday showed the two men essentially tied, with 49 percent of likely voters supporting Obama and 48 percent with Romney. The survey of 1,293 likely voters was conducted Oct. 28-31 and has an error margin of plus or minus three percentage points.

Yet Obama continues to hold an edge in many of the battleground states. He leads Romney by six percentage points in Iowa among likely voters and is out front by smaller margins in New Hampshire and Wisconsin, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist College published yesterday. Obama led among likely voters in Colorado with 50 percent to Romney’s 48 percent, a CNN/ORC International poll released yesterday showed.

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Campaign Schedule • After campaigning in Ohio all day today and part of tomorrow, Obama is moving to Wisconsin and Iowa. He will also be in New Hampshire, Florida and Colorado before Election Day.

Romney tomorrow will campaign in New Hamphire, Iowa, Colorado and Virginia. He will stop in Pennsylvania on Nov. 4, a day after running-mate Paul Ryan is scheduled to be in the state. With polls showing Ohio moving toward Obama, Romney’s team is searching for other paths to get to 270 electoral votes by plunging into Pennsylvania and other traditionally Democratic-leaning states.

At all three Ohio stops today, Obama will emphasize his decision to bail out the U.S. auto industry, an issue that has given him an edge in the state where 1 in 8 jobs is auto related.

He will also, for the first time, address the controversy over a Romney ad that has prompted General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC to wade into presidential politics and call the spot "inaccurate" and "misleading." Obama’s campaign released an ad that says Romney’s move is "desperate."

The 30-second Romney ad implies that Chrysler’s decision to expand production plants in China would come at the expense of jobs in Ohio. It shows cars being crushed as a narrator says Obama "sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China. Mitt Romney will fight for every American job."

Chrysler has said the expansion won’t shift jobs from the U.S. Signs point to a lucrative Jeep market for the automaker in China. In May, Chinese dealers were able to charge the equivalent of $189,750 for a high performance version of a U.S.- built Jeep Grand Cherokee that retails in its home market here for $54,470.

--With assistance from Lisa Lerer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin,, Jonathan D. Salant, Hans Nichols and Mike Dorning in Washington and John McCormick in Chicago.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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