Romney tries to seize mantle of change, hits Obama for 'can't change Washington' remark

By Steve Peoples

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Sept. 21 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

"When you express an attitude that half the country considers itself victims, that somehow they want to be dependent on government, my thinking is maybe you haven't gotten around a lot," Obama said Thursday during a forum on Univision, the Spanish-language TV network.

Romney is also facing criticism from some in his own party that he's spending too much time raising money and not enough time talking to voters in the eight or so battleground states that will decide the election. In response, his campaign added a Sunday rally in Colorado to his schedule and announced a three-day Ohio bus tour that kicks off Monday.

At the same time, his wife, Ann, said GOP critics should lay off. "Stop it. This is hard. You want to try it? Get in the ring," she said Thursday evening in an interview with Radio Iowa.

"This is hard, and you know, it's an important thing that we're doing right now, and it's an important election," she said. "And it is time for all Americans to realize how significant this election is and how lucky we are to have someone with Mitt's qualifications and experience and know-how to be able to have the opportunity to run this country."

The president will campaign this weekend in Wisconsin, a state Romney is trying to put in play. Republicans are hoping the addition of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan to the GOP ticket will help them claim victory there — or at least force Obama to spend time and money to hold the state.

Even with Election Day under seven weeks away, voters across the country are already casting ballots. By week's end, early voting will be under way in two dozen states.

Obama was also making a play for older voters Friday by speaking via satellite to an AARP convention and taking questions from the group's members. The president's campaign is seeking to gain an advantage with seniors and voters nearing retirement by attacking the Republican ticket's plan for Medicare.

The popular federal entitlement for seniors was the focus of a new television ad from the Obama campaign. The ad, scheduled to air Friday in Colorado, Florida and Iowa, presents a Democratic refrain — that Romney and Ryan would turn Medicare into a voucher program that could raise seniors' health costs by up to $6,400 a year.

Independent groups have said that a House Republican budget proposal led by Ryan could lead to higher costs for older Americans. But exactly how much is far from clear. The ad relies on the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal-leaning think tank, for the figure it cites.

Supporters of the Ryan plan say competition among private insurance providers could wring waste out of the system and bring down costs.

Peoples reported from Palm Beach, Fla.

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