Democrats chose the state to underscore their determination to contest it in the fall campaign. Obama carried North Carolina by 14,000 votes in 2008, but he faces a tough challenge this time given statewide unemployment of 9.6 percent in the most recent tabulation.
Romney relaxed at his lakeside home in New Hampshire with his family as Obama and running mate Joe Biden sought to motivate union voters to support them in difficult economic times. Romney took a midmorning boat ride, pulling up to a dock to fuel up his 29-foot Sea Ray and pick up a Jet Ski that had been in for repairs.
In a statement emailed to reporters before he left his house, the businessman-turned-political candidate said: “For far too many Americans, today is another day of worrying when their next paycheck will come.”
Campaigning on Saturday in Cincinnati, Romney likened Obama to a football coach with a record of 0 and 23 million, a reference to the number of unemployed and underemployed Americans.
Obama rebutted him 48 hours later — and play by play.
“On first down, he hikes taxes by nearly $2,000 on the average family with kids in order to pay for massive tax cuts for multimillionaires. ... Sounds like unnecessary roughness to me,” he said.
“On second down, he calls an audible and undoes reforms that are there to prevent another financial crisis and bank bailout. ...
“And then on third down, he calls for a hail Mary, ending Medicare as we know it by giving seniors a voucher that leaves them to pay any additional cost out of their pockets. But there’s a flag on the play: loss of up to an additional $6,400 a year for the same benefits you get now.”
Romney denies that his plan to help the economy and reduce federal deficits will result in higher taxes for the middle class. But he has yet to provide enough detail to refute the claim, and Obama’s assertion rests on a study by the non-partisan Tax Policy Center.