PUEBLO, Colo. (AP) ? President Barack Obama is pushing an economic fairness argument to voters in Colorado while Republican Mitt Romneys campaign protests a tough attack ad aired by a super PAC supporting the president.
Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul labeled the ad linking Romney to a womans death from cancer "despicable," but the Obama campaign refused to call on Priorities USA Action to pull the TV spot. Bill Burton, a former White House aide and co-founder of the group, defended the ad.
In the ad, a steelworker suggests that Romney and the private equity firm he founded might bear some responsibility for his wifes death from cancer because the firm closed the plant and he lost his health insurance.
Obama was rallying supporters in Pueblo and Colorado Springs on Thursday after making a pitch to female voters in Denver and reaching out to Republican-leaning Grand Junction. He carried Colorado in 2008, but he and Romney are engaged in a tight contest for the states nine electoral votes.
Romney was raising money in New York on Thursday as his campaign prepares for a bus trip through battleground states and a decision on a running mate.
In Colorado, Obama is trying to undermine Romneys arguments that Obama has failed to revitalize the economy nearly four years after the economic downturn. The president told voters in Grand Junction that Romney is struggling to explain how proposed tax cuts could continue without adding to the deficit or forcing Americans with moderate incomes to pay more.
"There was a whole different kind of gymnastics being performed by Mr. Romney than whats been happening in the Olympics," Obama said. He accused his opponent of "twisting" and "turning" and "doing backflips" over a report by a think tank that found his tax plan could force middle-class workers to lose tax breaks and pay more.
A new Quinnipiac University poll shows Obama and Romney tied among voters in Colorado households earning between $30,000 and $50,000 per year ? an important target. Obama leads among voters with lower incomes while Romney is favored by those making more.
Romney campaigned Wednesday in Iowa, where he drew a standing ovation for promising to repeal "Obamacare," the label Republicans have used to deride Obamas health care law.
"That doesnt mean that health care is perfect," Romney said. "Weve got to do some reforms in health care. And I have some experiences doing that, as you know."
Obama, campaigning in Denver before an audience largely made up of women, said he liked the "Obamacare" tag.
"I actually like the name because I do care," he said. "Thats why we fought so hard to make it happen."
Romneys spokeswoman drew expressions of dismay from some conservatives when she cited Romneys own health care law from his days as governor of Massachusetts in criticizing the steelworker ad.
"If people had been in Massachusetts under Gov. Romneys health care plan, they would have had health care," Saul said in an interview on Fox News. Romney himself rarely mentions the law, which contains a requirement to purchase health coverage similar to the one in the federal law that conservatives despise and Romney has vowed to repeal.