Obama says Romney writing off half the country
by Mark S Smith, Associated Press and Nedra Pickler, Associated Press
September 21, 2012 03:25 PM | 2175 views | 14 14 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
President Barack Obama pops a french fry into his mouth as he visits with students at OMG! Burgers, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012, in Miami, Fla. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
President Barack Obama pops a french fry into his mouth as he visits with students at OMG! Burgers, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012, in Miami, Fla. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
slideshow
Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney arrives in West Palm Beach, Fla., for private campaign fundraising events, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney arrives in West Palm Beach, Fla., for private campaign fundraising events, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
slideshow

WOODBRIDGE, Va. (AP) — Turning up the heat on Republican Mitt Romney's campaign stumble, President Barack Obama on Friday accused his rival of writing off half the country while defending his own remark that "you can't change Washington from the inside."

"We don't want an inside job in Washington, we want change in Washington," Obama told a rally in Virginia, one of a handful of tightly contested states where the election is being fought heading into its final six weeks. "It can't happen if you write off half the nation before you even took office."

Obama was referring to a secretly recorded video that emerged this week in which Romney told donors that 47 percent of Americans don't pay income taxes and are dependent on government and "my job is not to worry about those people." But the video has become so ubiquitous in the campaign that he didn't even have to explain the reference to draws cheers from his supporters.

Meanwhile, Romney's campaign disclosed that he paid nearly $2 million on more than $13 million in income last year, mostly from investments, for an effective tax rate of 14.1 percent. The Republican's low tax rate was bound to be an issue in the campaign with issues of wealth and income taxes becoming more prominent with the revelation of the video this week.

Obama and Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan attacked one another over their plans for Medicare, the popular federal entitlement program for seniors, as both campaigns tried to woo older voters at an AARP convention in New Orleans.

Ryan was booed when he said he and Romney would repeal Obama's health care program. But he argued that Obama's health care law has weakened Medicare and said the Republican ticket would give seniors more choice in their health care coverage if elected.

"Mitt Romney and I share your concerns, and we respect you enough to level with you," Ryan said. "We respect all the people in this country enough to talk about the clear choices we face on Medicare, Social Security, the economy, and the kind of country our children will inherit."

Americans 50 and over — the age that qualifies for AARP membership — are an especially important demographic for the candidates to persuade because they register in greater numbers those who are younger and are almost twice as likely to cast their ballot. An Associated Press-GfK poll that was released this week found Romney was favored by seniors likely to vote, 52 percent to 41 percent for Obama.

Obama was airing an ad Friday in Colorado, Florida and Iowa that argued Romney and Ryan would turn Medicare into a voucher program that could raise seniors' health costs by up to $6,400 a year.

But Obama conceded Friday, in response to a question posed during the AARP address, that that increase is based on a previous plan presented by Romney's running, Paul Ryan. Indeed, Romney would offer Medicare beneficiaries a choice between staying on traditional Medicare or to purchase private insurance through a voucher-like system.

But Obama, delivering his most expansive and detailed argument against Romney's Medicare plan, said that despite that choice, seniors would still suffer because only the healthiest would benefit from purchasing private insurance with a voucher plan while older Americans with greater health care needs would face rising premiums under traditional Medicare.

Ryan, speaking about an hour later, said describing it as a voucher was a "poll-tested word to scare seniors" when the idea is to force insurance companies to compete against each other to better serve seniors.

Ryan also said he and Romney want to raise the retirement age for Social Security and slow the growth of benefits for higher income earners to keep the program solvent.

Obama, who has not offered a comprehensive plan to address Social Security's long-term financial problems, said he would consider increasing the cap on Social Security taxes so that higher earners would pay slightly more toward the Social Security fund. Currently, the Social Security tax applies to income up to $110,100 in income.

"I do think that looking at changing the cap is an important aspect of putting Social Security on a more stable footing," he said.

Romney was holding a campaign rally Friday in Nevada, where he was expected to continue pressing Obama on his comment Thursday that "you can't change Washington from the inside. You can only change it from the outside." Romney's campaign argued the president was admitting he failed to create the hope and change he ran on in 2008.

"I can change Washington," Romney said Thursday. "I will change Washington. We'll get the job done from the inside. Republicans and Democrats will come together."

The president's campaign countered quickly by noting that Romney said exactly that in 2007, when he was running for the 2008 Republican nomination: "I don't think you change Washington from the inside. I think you change it from the outside."

Obama mocked Romney for jumping on his remark so quickly. "What kind of inside job is he talking about?" Obama said. He questioned whether that meant Romney would rubberstamp the agenda of congressional Republicans or let oil companies run the country's energy policy.

___

Pickler reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Ken Thomas, Jim Kuhnhenn and Julie Pace in Washington contributed to this report.



Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

Comments
(14)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Honest-romney
|
September 29, 2012
Yes, I could change it from the inside but I really agree with how Obama have been handling it in the last 4 years.

Well not everything, like giving too much to the poor, who are so because they are lazy.

Too soft on small businesses and not investing into wars against Iran and Syria for the beneficies of our greatest yet defenseless allies, which would be israel and saudi arabia (not Britain, Australia, New Zeland or Canada).

I can promise you better relations with the muslim world than under Obama, first I am not an abed (meaning both black and slave in arabic), second I would have made sure nothing like this innocense of muslims movie trailer would be allowed in this country.
Maybe one day
|
September 23, 2012
Maybe one day the AP will actually write a positive article about Romney and it will land on the front page of this paper. There is always that faint possibility. I read the front page of the MDJ, then go on the internet and read the opposite. Am tired constantly being barraged with these AP pieces.
tired of it
|
September 23, 2012
The people Romney was talking about are the 47 percent who are on the government platation of welfare, foodstanps. which of course will vote for Obama because they don;t want to work the government promises free money to them. The bad par is those of us who pay taxes are paying for it.
Samuel Adams
|
September 24, 2012
Nedra Pickler is one of the most left leaning AP reporters and outdoes herself here.

Notice how they all forget about that woman and others who so jubilently proclaimed (after his election), "Now we won't have to pay our mortgage....Obama gonna pay." To which I would answer, well, no, it's taxpayers who are paying. Obama is just forcing us to...
Follower-of-Surak
|
September 30, 2012
Nope, about the 47% that supposedly doesn´t pay taxes, that actually isn´t true.

There is the inflation taxe for a starter, the real inflation rate is much higher than the "western" governements says, the only way you aren´t taxed is if you have no money or the money you have is from a country where strict anti-inflation policies are maintained.

Conservatives should be conservatives, not liberal, please avoid making up things.
anonymous
|
September 21, 2012
Obama likes to talk. Mostly about himself, except when the economy is concerned.
VFP42
|
September 21, 2012
Obama said it? What? Fox News said Romeny is the one who said that.
anonymous
|
September 21, 2012
Seniors better worry if Obama is reelected than he will be looking at getting rid of seniors all those baby boomers are going to coast too much, he can shift that to the illegal’s he’s going to bring in for cheap labor. The blacks won’t even be able to find a job the illegal’s now legal with Obama pedigreed will work really cheap! It’s still the white man’s fault he just a victim that’s for sure, that race card is really getting worn out. If he so concerned about baby boomers why he hasn’t taken some of that foreign aid money and paid back Medicare and Social Security. It’s not my fault same old tap dance routine shucking and jiving blame game.
anonymous
|
September 21, 2012
Obama, per usual, making excuses for anything wrong under his watch. I believe Romney does have what it takes to turn this country around.

Obama is like my 14 year old, blaming everyone and everything else. Maybe if he'd come back to the White House and actually do some work instead of playing golf, his presidency would've gone better. But I doubt it.
Lib in Cobb
|
September 22, 2012
anonymous: You have consumed from the kool aide trough filled by Rush and Fox. Your inability to discern right from wrong and truth from lies is what makes you a dangerous voter. You have the absolute right to vote for whom you wish, you have the absolute responsibility to be informed. You are badly uninformed also making you a dangerous voter.

Vote Obama Biden 2012!
D.G. in Clarkdale
|
September 22, 2012
@LibinCobb, deception, moral turpitude, are hall marks of modern liberals, some of us out here have a clear understanding of how utterly dangerous and damaging your ilk are to this Republic. Muslim fanatics are hate filled and murderous but at least you know where you stand with them, Liberals on the other hand work to undermine and destroy this country, cloaking themselves in the flag and spouting platitudes, deceiving the uneducated and uninformed. I know your game and before its over many more will also....

ANYONE BUT OBAMA 2012
tired of it
|
September 22, 2012
lib in cobb: You have drake of the koolaid and it is people like you who are nieve to believe your muslim president has anyones best interest at heart except for destroying this country. You are the one that is uninformed!!!!!!!!!!!!
Samuel Adams
|
September 24, 2012
I'm anonymous in this case, just forgot to fill in the name block. I'm in fact not a dangerous voter, but a highly responsible one who does my own research, has multiple degrees including one in political science and rarely watches Fox. I do listen to Rush, however, who simply affirms many of my own thoughts and theories (which is why I like him...plus he's very funny).

I find it very telling that lib in Cobb chooses to attack me on this particular post. Was it the golf comment that got your goat, because you know it's true? Or was it my comparing the Boy President to a 14 year old? That's hitting a bit too close to home isn't it?

Did you hear Obama has abandoned selling his personal American flag at $35 a pop? I think it was the recent political cartoon that compared and contrasted his flag (at $35) to the REAL American flag (emphasized that it is FREE). Talk about a gaffe. But where is the lib media? Finding fault with the millions Romney has given to charity as disclosed in his tax returns, no doubt.

Hey, how much did Obama and Michelle give again? Oh what you say, barely anything?

Romney-Ryan 2012. Send Obama to Cairo where he belongs.
Follower-of-Surak
|
September 30, 2012
Nope, Romney doesn´t but if elected, his political position would be much weaker than Obama, much harder for him to suspend the 2016 elections.
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides