Obama Campaign on Offense, Avoids Tough Mideast Questions

President Obama has been taking swings at Romney all week, while ducking foreign policy blows.

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President Barack Obama speaks during a campaign event at Seasongood Pavilion in Cincinnati.

While the campaign for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has spent the week careening from one political fire to the next, the campaign for President Barack Obama has been on the offensive.

The week started with Obama's team launching a Web video mocking Romney for making an "extreme makeover" when it comes to wooing Latino voters. During his primary campaign, Romney said illegal immigrants should "self-deport" and vowed to veto the DREAM act, legislation that would create a path to citizenship through higher education achievement or military service for children brought to the United States through no fault of their own.

But in addressing Hispanic voters now, who he is losing by a 2 to 1 margin to Obama, Romney says he is committed to bipartisan immigration reform.

[Read: Still time for Romney to wow voters.]

Then Obama traveled to Ohio, announcing an official complaint his administration is making against the Chinese government for alleged trade violations that impact the auto industry, a key part of the Midwestern state's economy. This was blatantly in response to criticism coming from Romney that Obama was soft on China.

"Now, I understand my opponent has been running around Ohio claiming he's going to roll up his sleeves and take the fight to China," Obama said during a campaign appearance this week in Cincinnati.

"But here's the thing: his experience has been owning companies that were called 'pioneers' in the business of outsourcing jobs to countries like China. Pioneers! Ohio, you can't stand up to China when all you've done is send them our jobs."

Obama added, "You can talk a good game, or you can play one."

Again on the offensive, the Obama campaign launched television advertisements in Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia attacking Romney for not being forthcoming about what his plan to cut taxes would mean for middle class families, as it would be paid for in part by eliminating current tax deductions and carveouts, such as the popular mortgage-interest deduction.

Romney and his running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, have declined to enumerate the deductions they would eliminate, saying they would work with Congress on the details.

[Check out U.S. News Weekly: an insider's guide to politics and policy.]

The Obama campaign was also quick to jump on its Republican opponent in light of the recently made public fundraising remarks made by Romney in May, in which he said he was not going to get 47 percent of voters anyway and accused them of feeling entitled to and dependent on government services, as well as not paying federal income tax.

"It's shocking that a candidate for president of the United States would go behind closed doors and declare to a group of wealthy donors that half the American people view themselves as 'victims,' entitled to handouts, and are unwilling to take 'personal responsibility' for their lives," said Jim Messina, Obama's campaign manager, in a statement. "It's hard to serve as president for all Americans when you've disdainfully written off half the nation."

When the Romney campaign tried to change the campaign conversation to remarks made by Obama in 1998 where he said he's in favor of some redistribution of wealth, an anathema to conservatives, the president's campaign sought to paint Romney with the same brush.

Obama campaign spokesman Danny Kanner said redistribution is exactly what the Romney-Ryan tax plan would do, cutting deductions from some to pay for tax cuts for others.

The president also has spent the week at high-profile fundraising events, including one hosted by Beyoncé and Jay-Z, and making an appearance on "The Late Show With David Letterman."

[Read Romney makes pitch for Latino voters.]

The week's events have been a helpful distraction for the Obama campaign from the ongoing violence in the Middle East and the tough questions now being asked by some members of Congress about the lack of security at U.S. embassies in the region, such as in Libya where U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other diplomats were killed Sept. 11.

Polling has shown that despite an ill-timed response from the Romney campaign, viewed as a political attack during an on-going violent situation overseas, voters are down on Obama's foreign policy skills as a result of the attacks.

Obama is scheduled to spend Thursday campaigning in Florida, spending Friday in Virginia, and Saturday in Wisconsin—all of which are considered swing states. And a new Gallup poll gives Democrats up and down the ticket reason for optimism. It shows voter enthusiasm in swing states is up among all voters, with about 60 percent saying they are "extremely" or "very" enthusiastic to vote, up from 46 percent in June. But it also pegs Democratic voter enthusiasm higher than Republicans, a change from the past.

"Voter enthusiasm in these states has grown among members of both political parties; however, Democrats' level has increased more," wrote Gallup poll analysts in a memo accompanying the results. "Thus, whereas equal percentages of Democrats and Republicans were enthusiastic in June, Democrats are now significantly more enthusiastic than Republicans, 73 percent versus 64 percent."

Romney and Ryan are not leaving the swing-state campaigning to the Democrats, though, with the campaign announcing an Ohio bus tour that will start next week. Romney currently trails Obama in the critical Buckeye State by a polling average of about 5 percentage points, according to RealClearPolitics.

Rebekah Metzler is a political writer for U.S. News & World Report. You can contact her at rmetzler@usnews.com or follow her on Twitter.

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