President attempts to re-energize campaign with attack on Romney

BALTIMORE — President Obama tried to re-energize his campaign at a series of fundraisers on Tuesday, swiping his opponent Mitt Romney for running with “the same bad ideas” that brought the economy to “the brink” in 2008.

After dealing with a string of bad news in recent days — including dismal unemployment numbers — a combative Obama aimed to regain some of his mojo, going on the offensive while slamming Republicans for creating the economy he inherited.

“I love listening to these guys give us lectures on debts and deficit,” he said Tuesday, adding that spending in his administration has grown more slowly than other administrations in 60 years and that his opponents’ attacks to the contrary are “not true.”

During the fundraiser, Obama — who test-drove new lines aimed at energizing the crowd — sought to explain what he inherited by breaking the scenario down in the simplest of ways.

“It’s like somebody goes to a restaurant, orders a big steak dinner, a martini, all that stuff, then just as you’re sitting down they leave and accuse you of running up the tab,” he said, drawing laughs from the crowd of supporters who gathered at the Hyatt Regency in Baltimore. “That’s what they do. I am not making this up.”

Romney’s campaign fired back by saying Obama had promised to cut the deficit in half and then done the opposite. 

“He has now presided over a historic increase in our nation’s debt and year after year of trillion-dollar deficits,” Ryan Williams, a spokesman for the Romney campaign, said in a statement. “President Obama saying he’s been fiscally responsible is like saying that declining job growth and record-level unemployment shows we’re ‘doing fine.’ ”

Obama, who attended fundraisers in Maryland and Pennsylvania on Tuesday, where he was expected to bring in more than $3.6 million, used the opportunity to try to change the narrative of the presidential campaign.

During one speech, Obama called Romney a “patriotic American” who “raised a wonderful family” and “should be proud of the success he has achieved.”

But Romney, he added, “has drawn wrong lessons from these experiences” in the private sector.

“When I hear Gov. Romney say his 25 years in the private sector gave him a special understanding of how the economy works, my question is, why are you running with the same bad ideas that brought our economy to the brink?” Obama said. “Why he believes it will lead to a different result this time, although there’s no evidence of that, or he’s hoping you won’t remember just what happened the last time we tried those bad ideas.”

Earlier in the day, at another fundraiser, Obama accused Romney of running a campaign with no message, doing nothing but casting blame on the president for the economy.

“The challenge is because folks are still hurting right now, the other side feels that it’s enough for them to just sit back and say, ‘Things aren’t as good as they should be and it’s Obama’s fault,’ ” the president said at a fundraiser at a private residence in Maryland. “And you can pretty much put their campaign on, on a tweet and have some characters to spare.”

Obama, time and again, during his speeches reiterated that the country can’t go back to the way it was in 2008.

“We cannot afford the next four years going backward,” the president said. “We need forward. Not backward.

“We need better, not worse,” he said.

— Updated at 8:40 p.m.