cloudy
Friday August 28th, 2015 8:50AM

Obama's aim in Florida? Keep pressure on Romney

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama is trying to keep the pressure on Republican rival Mitt Romney, opening two days of campaigning in Florida in search of military veterans, seniors and unaligned voters in the state's crucial midsection. Romney's wife said no more of her husband's tax information would be made public.

Obama was appearing Thursday in Jacksonville and West Palm Beach as his campaign urges Romney to release more years of his tax returns and keeps a sharp focus on the former Massachusetts governor's tenure as the head of a private equity firm.

"We've given all that people need to know and understand about our financial situation and about how we live our life," Ann Romney told ABC News in an interview broadcast Thursday.

Florida is the largest and most coveted of the nation's Election Day toss-up states, a place where Romney could severely damage Obama's chances of winning re-election. Republicans are holding their national convention in Tampa in August in hopes of giving themselves an edge in the state.

Yet, if Obama can lock down Florida's 29 electoral votes, it would be difficult for Romney to mount enough support elsewhere to capture the White House.

Polls have shown Obama and Romney in a dead heat in the state, which has struggled with an unemployment rate of 8.6 percent, above the national average, and a still-recovering housing market. Florida provided the deciding margin in George W. Bush's victory in 2000 and the state has been closely contested ever since. Obama carried it in 2008.

Obama aides noted that since 1992, Floridians have cast more than 32.5 million votes during the past five presidential elections and only 57,000 votes have separated the two parties in those campaigns. "Florida's always a close state and we don't expect that to change between now and November," said Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt.

Both sides are jockeying for an advantage.

Obama has repeatedly criticized Romney's private equity firm, Bain Capital, arguing that it promoted the outsourcing of jobs to countries like China and India. And Democrats want Romney to make public past tax returns, noting that the one year for which he has released returns showed investments and offshore accounts in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands.

Several Republicans have joined in the call for more transparency, including several GOP senators and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who challenged Romney for the GOP nomination earlier this year.

In an interview aired Thursday on WTOL-TV in Toledo, Ohio, Romney said one reason not to release more of his returns was that "the Democratic party and the opposition has all these people that comb through and try and find anything they can to distract from the issues people care about, oftentimes in a dishonest way."

In recent days, Romney has pointed to Obama's record on the economy and noted that the Democrat hasn't met with his jobs council in more than six months. Romney was in Massachusetts Thursday, before an event Friday in Bow, N.H.

Romney's team sees an opportunity to seize on what they say is another Obama misstep on jobs. At the White House briefing Wednesday, press secretary Jay Carney said there was "no specific reason" why Obama and the jobs council haven't met for six months "except that the president's obviously got a lot on his plate."

Romney, under attack for days over his record running Bain Capital and over his tax returns, went on the offensive this week and lashed out at Obama for saying: "If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen." At a town hall in Ohio on Wednesday, Romney asked audience members who had built or were running a business to stand. "Take that, Mr. President," he said as the crowd cheered.

The president was starting Thursday with a campaign event in Jacksonville, home to a large swath of veterans and military members connected to Naval Air Station Jacksonville. Before military audiences, Obama has talked about his efforts to bring home U.S. combat troops from Iraq, end the conflict in Afghanistan and pressed Congress to promote job opportunities for veterans.

Obama is expected to make a pitch to seniors in West Palm Beach, where he'll visit Century Village, a condominium complex home to thousands of retirees, long a bastion of reliable Democratic voters. Obama and Democrats have warned that Romney would seek to implement a budget plan authored by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., that includes an overhaul of Medicare that would change it into a voucher-like program for those who retire in 10 years.

"Under the Romney-Ryan budget, Florida seniors would be left on their own," said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

Obama was holding events on Friday in Fort Myers, along Florida's southwest coast, and in Orlando, the heart of the state's Interstate 4 corridor, which is home to many independent voters.

After three days of aggressive attacks against the president, Romney moves into a relatively quiet period, with just one public event scheduled through the weekend.

Aides said Romney would spend most of Thursday meeting privately with staff at the campaign's Boston headquarters. The former Massachusetts governor is expected to attend a private Boston-area fundraiser Thursday evening before heading to his lakeside vacation home in New Hampshire for the weekend.

While his vacation home is usually reserved for family and relaxation, Romney often holds campaign strategy sessions there with senior staff and family members.

Despite the light schedule, speculation about Romney's selection of a vice presidential candidate looms large. Romney said Wednesday that he has yet to make his choice. Aides say a decision could be reached as early as this week.
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Doctors: Blood clot located in Clinton's head
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton developed a blood clot in her head but did not suffer a stroke or neurological damage, her doctors said Monday. They say they are confident that she will make a full recovery.
3:55PM ( 2 years ago )
Illinois Sen. Kirk to return a year after stroke
Nearly a year after a stroke left him barely able to move the left side of his body, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk is expected to climb the 45 steps to the Senate's front door this week - a walk that's significant not just for Illinois' junior senator, but also for medical researchers and hundreds of thousands of stroke patients.
3:54PM ( 2 years ago )
U.S. News
Ga. ethics legislation could end free tickets
General Assembly approval next year of a proposed ethics reform measure could endanger an important fall tradition for Georgia lawmakers - free football tickets.
6:26PM ( 2 years ago )
Abortion restrictions, tax changes loom in Ga.
Tax breaks for manufacturers and higher unemployment taxes for employers take effect with the new year in Georgia, but it remains to be seen whether the state's newest abortion restrictions will be enforced.
6:23PM ( 2 years ago )
Budget battle sends mixed signals on health care
Confused about the federal budget struggle? So are doctors, hospital administrators and other medical professionals who serve the 100 million Americans covered by Medicare and Medicaid.
6:20PM ( 2 years ago )
Politics
Democratic financial woes threaten party-building before presidential election year
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Democratic National Committee barely has more cash than it does IOUs, and it is being outraised month after month by its Republican competitor.Its $24 million debt from the 2012...
6:11PM ( 14 hours ago )
Health official: States should post local vaccination info
How many kids are vaccinated at your child's school? Federal health officials think you should be able to easily find out.
By The Associated Press
4:55PM ( 15 hours ago )
US stocks end sharply higher; Dow up 369
U.S. stocks are closing sharply higher after China's main stock index logged its biggest gain in eight weeks. A report also showed that the U.S. economy expanded at a much faster pace than previously estimated.
By The Associated Press
4:33PM ( 16 hours ago )
Settlement reached in lawsuit over decade-old Gulf oil leak
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Environmental groups and a New Orleans company that failed to end a decade-old oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico have reached a settlement agreement in a lawsuit over the slow-motion s...
12:32PM ( 20 hours ago )
The Latest: Kentucky clerk again refuses to grant license
MOREHEAD, Ky. (AP) — The latest in the refusal of a Kentucky county clerk to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples (all times local):___12 p.m.A Kentucky county clerk temporarily closed her offi...
12:07PM ( 20 hours ago )