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November 2, 2012

Wrestling for 'candidate of change' mantle intensifies as election nears

(Continued)

“Yeah. Yeah. Taco Bell,” Romney interjected, offering an example of a more down-market option.

Obama seemed intent on making up for lost campaign time after a three-day turn as hands-on commander of the federal response to Sandy, although aides stressed he remained in touch with the administration’s point man, FEMA Director Craig Fugate, and local officials.

One day after touring storm-battered New Jersey with Republican Gov. Chris Christie, he walked off Air Force One in Green Bay, Wis., wearing a leather bomber jacket bearing the presidential seal and promptly lit into Romney.

In the campaign’s final weeks, his rival “has been using all his talents as a salesman to dress up” policies that led to the nation’s economic woes. “And he is offering them up as change,” Obama said.

“What the governor is offering sure ain’t change. Giving more power back to the biggest banks isn’t change. Leaving millions without health insurance isn’t change. Another $5 trillion tax cut that favors the wealthy isn’t change. Turning Medicare into a voucher is change, but we don’t want that change,” he said.

The president’s campaign went up with a new ad featuring Collin Powell endorsing the president. “I think we ought to keep on the track we’re on,” says the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who was secretary of state under President George W. Bush.

Officials said the ad would run in 10 states, including Minnesota, one of the states where Romney and his GOP allies launched late advertising.

A separate Obama commercial had a more limited exposure — and a harsher message. Aimed at voters in Michigan and Ohio, it cites independent fact-checkers and top executives from Chrysler and General Motors to rebut Romney’s recent ads that suggest auto jobs are moving to China from the United States.

Both campaigns invested heavily in early voting, and more than 3.1 million had already been cast in Florida alone. None will be counted until Election Day.

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