President Barack Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney took to the campaign trail on Friday to deliver what’s being seen as “closing arguments,” with each candidate arguing he would be the one to provide real change and steer the country out of economic depression.
“President Obama promised changed, but he could not deliver it. I promise change, and I have a record of achieving it,” Romney declared in the battleground state of Wisconsin.
Obama, meanwhile, accused Romney of using scare tactics, pointing to his ads suggesting General Motors and Chrysler are adding jobs in China at the expense of American jobs.
The president, in Ohio, told a crowd that Romney is “a very talented salesman,” adding “We know what change looks like. And what the governor is offering ain’t it.”
In his speech, Obama emphasized “trust”:
“As you make this choice, as you talk to your friends or your neighbors, you got to remind them one of the things you’re choosing is about an issue of trust. After four years as president, you know me. You may not agree with every decision I’ve made. You may be frustrated sometimes at the pace of change. But you know that I say what I mean and I mean what I say. You know what I believe. You know where I stand. You know I tell the truth. And you know I fight for working families every single day, as hard as I know how.
MSNBC political analysts Joy Reid of TheGrio.com and David Corn of Mother Jones weighed in on the candidates’ performances on Friday’s Hardball.
“Romney looks like he’s going into a board meeting. He doesn’t exactly sound like a guy giving a rousing rally. He sounds like somebody in a board room,” remarked Reid.
She added, “I’d rather be Barack Obama than Mitt Romney. If you look at the polls, his campaign feels pretty good where they are, so he’s sort of enjoying it.”
Corn agreed, adding “It did sound as if Barack Obama feels energized and Mitt Romney’s going through the motions.”
Most polls show the president with small but consistent leads in several key swing states.
Host Chris Matthews noted Obama did have a “spring to his step” due to his praised response to Hurricane Sandy this week, and a new jobs report showing the economy added 171,000 new jobs in October. But he warned anything could happen if voters did not go to the polls.
“The trajectory, the momentum now seems pro-Obama,” said Matthews. “Pennsylvania will hold, Ohio looks good but close, and all the battlegrounds look winnable for the president. The huge question is turnout.”