After a week of Obama campaign stump speeches that focused on Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” comment and a medical condition they invented called “Romnesia,” the Romney campaign accused the president Sunday of resorting to small-minded attacks in the closing days of the race.
Romney surrogates on Sunday claimed the president has effectively stopped talking about his goals for a second term. Instead, they noted, he’s talking about “Big Bird” and other alleged distractions.
Campaign advisers and surrogates made their arguments one day before the third, and final, presidential debate and roughly two weeks before Election Day in a razor-close contest.
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said Romney has recently closed the gap in national and battleground state polls because he has clearly articulated his vision to help the country.
“But even more startling is the president's complete failure to put forth an agenda for the next four years,” the Florida senator said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “If you look at the statements he's been making on the campaign stump over the last 72 hours or even the last two weeks, he doesn't talk about the future. … It's all attacks against Mitt Romney.”
Rubio made his comments on the same day an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed the president and Romney deadlocked at 47 percent.
Rubio said poll numbers are “only going to get better” – including those for female voters – because Obama “is not offering anything.”
“What's he going to do over the next four years economically so that women that are graduating from the universities can find jobs in the professions that they are studying for?” Rubio asked on NBC. “It's the overriding issue in America, and the president is failing to put forward what is his plan for the next four years.”
Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter dismissed the latest attacks that the president has yet to make clear his plan for the next four years.
“Mitt Romney ought to come out on the trail with us and come to some of our rallies across the country ... and listen to what the president is the saying,” ,” she said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Cutter said Obama wants to continue rebuilding the economy “in a way that's meant to last” by building on existing progress in part by investing in manufacturing, education and small businesses as well as closing those loopholes that send jobs overseas.
But Romney campaign adviser Kevin Madden, sitting beside Cutter in Boca Raton, Fla., site of the final debate, said the idea that Obama would suggest Romney has forgotten the positions he has taken, then use a word like “Romnesia” for the idea is “silly.”
“The very fact that the president of the United States has to utter a term like just is a glaring example of how small the campaign has been,” Madden said. “The Obama campaign … hasn't been talking about what they would do the next four years to really help rebuild the economy.
“Instead they've reduced themselves to very small attacks. You take Romnesia, which is really quite frankly silly for the president of the United States, the leader of the free world to begin uttering. Along with this talk about binders, talk about Big Bird, I mean, all of that is really indicative of a candidate that doesn't have a vision for the future.”
Top Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod said the president has a “very specific agenda to move forward while Romney wants to return to failed economic policies of the past.
“We’ve tried it,” Axelrod told NBC. “It doesn’t work.”
Romney, while attending the start of a press-campaign football game Sunday in Del Ray, Fla., decline to say whether he would be open to one-on-one talks with Iran if elected president, following a New York Times story that stated Tehran and Washington were poised to have first-ever, one-on-one talks about Iran’s effort to achieve nuclear capability amid worldwide economic sanction.
Romney and Obama stayed off the campaign trial this weekend to practice for the debate, which will focus on foreign policy.
However, Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan was in Iowa on Sunday.
“We can get this country back on the right track,” he said at rally in Council Bluffs. “Let’s look back at this moment as when we did it. We need your help.”