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MANCHESTER: US President Barack Obama said yesterday that Mitt Romney had taken a swing and missed when selling his tax plan to Americans, claiming his rival’s economic policy does not add up.
Obama also said that, after their acrimonious exchange in their second debate in Long Island on Tuesday, he was looking forward to discussing Iraq and Afghanistan with Romney in their final showdown in Florida on Monday.
The president appeared in the northeastern state of New Hampshire, which has only 4 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency, but which could play an outsize role in a White House race as close as this one.
The president told a crowd of 6,000 supporters that, in their tense debate clash on Tuesday, Romney “took another stab at trying to sell us this $5 trillion tax cut that favours the wealthy.”
“He took another swing at it, and he whiffed,” Obama said, using a baseball metaphor. “Instead of telling us how he’d pay for it, he said, I’ll let you know after the election. When I asked him about it, he said, ‘I’m a businessman—I know the numbers will work. Take my word for it’.”
Romney says his plan for a 20 percent income tax cut across the board will be financed by a cutting of loopholes and deductions and through the increased economic growth that it will unleash.
But the Obama campaign charges that the plan would require the repeal of deductions like mortgage interest tax relief, which would leave the middle classes worse off, while hurting the wealthy a lot less.
Obama also renewed his attack on Romney on women’s issues, as his campaign seeks to close a narrowing of his advantage over the Republican candidate among the crucial demographic in several recent polls.
His campaign released a new ad featuring footage of Romney during the Republican primary campaign, which will run in the swing state of Virginia. In the clip, Romney said he would sign legislation banning all abortions if it was presented to him as president.
“Let me say it: I’d be delighted to sign that bill,” Romney was shown saying in tape of a Republican debate, in a quote which omitted his later remark that America had not yet reached such a political consensus on this point.
The idea that a president Romney could ever receive a bill to sign banning abortion seems far-fetched as it seems unlikely ever to make it through a divided Senate. And even if Romney were to nominate judges that tilted the balance on the Supreme Court so that a majority would overturn the 1973 Roe v Wade judgement legalising abortion, it could take years for the issue to come to court.
Obama, who made his early opposition to the Iraq war a central plank of his 2008 White House bid, also leveraged his withdrawal of all US troops from the country to hammer Romney ahead of their foreign policy debate on Monday. “We also have to make sure that we’re using the money we’re saving from ending the war in Iraq, winding down the war in Afghanistan to put our people back to work here doing some nation-building here at home,” Obama said.
“We got a debate on Monday on foreign policy, and I’m very interested in seeing what Governor Romney has to say about this. “You know, he said — he said that it was tragic the way I ended the war in Iraq. Last week he said we should still have troops in Iraq.”
Romney has criticised Obama for not reaching an agreement with the Iraqi government to leave behind a residual American force in the country to train Baghdad’s armed forces, which he has said has cost US leverage in the region.