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Obama Rallies Blunt GOP Criticism From Tampa


We're getting a reminder here of how fiercely competitive this race is. Even as his party's convention is going on, Mitt Romney, campaigning in Indiana and President Obama, of course, not taking the week off - as rival candidates sometimes do during the opponent's convention. He's been making his case the last couple of days in college towns, trying to energize young voters.

And NPR's Scott Horsley is on the road with the president.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: In the battleground states of Iowa, Colorado, and Virginia, Mr. Obama had a simple message for college students as they're starting school. They have more at stake in this election than practically anyone else.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I know that's a pretty heavy idea to lay on you on just the second day of class.


OBAMA: But it's true.

HORSLEY: Mr. Obama ticked through issue after issue where he and his Republican challenger would move the country in different directions - whether it's taxes, or renewable energy, or health care. The president notes that Romney has vowed to repeal the health care law that allows millions of young adults to stay on their parents' insurance - up through age 26.

OBAMA: He calls my health care law Obamacare. I call his plan Romney doesn't care.


HORSLEY: The daily campaign rallies serve a dual purpose for the president. Local organizers work the crowd, signing up new voters and volunteers. At the same time, the events give Mr. Obama a platform to answer Republican criticisms as they're floated in Tampa.

For example, Republicans, including Romney, continue to accuse the president of stripping the work requirement out of welfare reform. In fact, the administration gave governors more flexibility to make the work requirement more effective.

In Charlottesville, Virginia yesterday, the president mocked Republicans for continuing that line of attack, even after it was thoroughly discredited.

OBAMA: They were asked about it and they said - one of their campaign people said, we won't have the fact-checkers dictate our campaign.


OBAMA: We will not let the truth get in the way.

HORSLEY: Mr. Obama also boasted about doubling the production of wind and solar power, and negotiating new fuel efficiency standards with automakers that were finalized this week. Those standards will eventually require cars to go nearly twice as far on a gallon of gas, reducing oil consumption and greenhouse gases.

This week, a Romney spokeswoman called the new standards extreme, warning they'll make new cars more expensive. Mr. Obama suggests that's an example of backward-looking policy, adding that maybe the steam engine is more Romney's speed. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Scott Horsley is NPR's Chief Economics Correspondent. He reports on ups and downs in the national economy as well as fault lines between booming and busting communities.