Later, during a fundraiser in Little Rock, Ark., Romney called Wednesday a "very revealing day" because of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office's warnings of a new recession — including unemployment rates of more than 9 percent by late next year — if Washington continues its stalemate over taxes and spending cuts. Romney said the CBO's conclusions were "unacceptable."
"This is a challenging time for America and one thin g I will do is I will finally cut federal spending, encourage growth and as a result of those two things get America to a balanced budget," Romney said.
Obama focused on education for a second straight day in Nevada, telling supporters at a North Las Vegas high school that GOP budget plans crafted by Ryan would force dramatic education cuts even as Romney's plan would "shower" tax cuts on millionaires.
"I've got a question for Gov. Romney. How many teachers' jobs are worth another tax cut for millionaires and billionaires? How many kids in Head Start are worth a tax cut for somebody like me who doesn't need it? How many grants and loans for college students are worth a tax cut for Gov. Romney who certainly doesn't need it?" Obama asked the crowd.
Romney countered that he heard the president "say how he wants to invest in young people. Let me tell you, if you want to invest in young people ... you need to make sure that our K-12 schools are getting better. That's No. 1. Not just talk, but actually getting better." He added that the nation needs "to make sure that we create jobs in this country so people coming out of school can get a good job."
Beyond the rallies, both campaigns were trying to sway voters on television. Romney's campaign released a new ad linking Obama's divisive health care overhaul to cuts in Medicare. The ad, titled "Nothing's Free," asserts that Obama raided $716 billion from Medicare in order to pay for his health care law. It's the first ad Romney's campaign has run focusing on health care since the Supreme Court upheld Obama's federal mandate in June.
Romney has promised to roll back the Medicare spending cuts approved under Obama, while Ryan kept the cuts in his budget proposals. The campaign did not say where the health care ad would run.
The Obama campaign released an ad suggesting Ryan's education cuts would lead to larger class sizes. A couple featured in the ad bemoans the prospect of increased class size and says Romney "cannot relate" to their desire to have the best public education system for their children. The ad is running in Virginia and Ohio.
With Republicans closing in on their convention, Obama's team is trying to steal some of the spotlight. Obama planned campaign events on college campuses in Iowa and Colorado on Tuesday — including an evening rally in Fort Collins, Colo., on the GOP convention's first night — and in Virginia on Wednesday. Vice President Joe Biden was traveling to Florida on Monday and Tuesday, including a stop in Tampa, and popular first lady Michelle Obama was appearing on "The Late Show with David Letterman" on the GOP convention's third night, a show that will air shortly after Ryan's address to the convention.
Obama won all four states in 2008 and are considered pivotal to Romney's path to the White House this year.
Pace reported from Bettendorf, Iowa. Associated Press writers Kasie Hunt, Ken Thomas, Mark S. Smith and Jennifer Agiesta in Washington, and Jim Kuhnhenn in North Las Vegas, Nev., contributed to this report.
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