Pres. Obama, Mitt Romney open the homestretch to the November elections
But Obama is also eager to turn the debate away from the economy and on to issues that favor Democrats. Obama repeatedly reminds audiences that Romney's running mate has proposed to overhaul Medicare, the government health program for older Americans, with a voucher-like system that could cost beneficiaries more out of their pocket.
Obama's team says the Medicare argument could help attract undecided voters approaching retirement age, more so than elderly voters whose political views are already set.
Obama's visit to Florida is his first since Romney and the GOP held their convention in Tampa last month. With 29 electoral votes, the state is a lynchpin in both candidates' strategies for winning the election.
Romney and Obama are deadlocked in Virginia, where the Democrat is strong in the northern suburbs of Washington, D.C., and Romney does better in the south and rural areas.
Romney sees working-class white voters, who have at times voted for moderate Democrats such as Sen. Mark Warner, as ripe for picking. Polls suggest those voters prefer Romney over Obama. Romney was visiting a NASCAR race in Richmond later Saturday, a nod to this potentially pivotal voting bloc in Virginia.
Deep spending cuts, including to the armed forces, are to begin automatically next year unless Congress negotiates a debt-reduction package. Obama has opposed the depth of the cuts but has said Republicans need to adopt a plan that includes increases in revenue.
Beaumont reported from Virginia Beach, Va. Associated Press writer Matthew Daly in Columbus, Ohio, contributed to this report.
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