Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid took to the Senate floor earlier in the day to question whether Romney himself could be one of the Americans who pay no federal income tax. Reid has charged before that Romney hasn't paid taxes some years, but the senator hasn't backed up the claim with evidence, and Romney has insisted that's not true. "We'll never know, since he refuses to release tax returns from the years before he was running for president," Reid said.
"So who are those Americans Mitt Romney disdains as 'victims' and 'those people?'" said Reid, D-Nev., in a prepared speech. "They're not avoiding their tax bills using Cayman Island tax shelters or Swiss bank accounts like Mitt Romney."
A super political action committee supporting Obama was more pointed in the first television advertisement using Romney's words, released Wednesday morning and scheduled to run in battlegrounds Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.
The ad includes video of Romney saying, "I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility." An announcer interjects, "And Mitt Romney will never convince us he's on our side."
With early and absentee voting beginning in a number of states, both sides hoped to lock in votes long before Election Day. Romney scheduled two appearances in Miami Wednesday, including a candidate forum with the Spanish-language TV network Univision.
Obama planned a rare full day at the White House Wednesday, including a private meeting with Myanmar democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
In an effort to promote good news on the economy, the administration released a progress report showing it had taken steps to increase the number of foreign visitors to the U.S. The report says wait times for visas in countries such as China and Brazil have decreased sharply, while the number of "trusted travelers" has grown to 1.5 million, up from 1.2 million last year. Frequent travelers and those who are not considered a security risk can make it through airport checkpoints and other border entries more quickly.
International tourists spent $13.7 billion in the United States in July, up 3 percent from July 2011, the report said. Canada and Mexico remain the two top sources of international visitors.
The report said the State Department and Homeland Security are working with industry leaders such as Disney and American Express to attract more international visitors. Disney, for instance, has agreed to donate experts to evaluate U.S. consulates in Brazil and China and suggest ways to reduce lines and make other improvements.
Pickler reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Matthew Daly, Julie Pace, Kevin Freking, Donna Cassata and Henry C. Jackson contributed to this report.
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