Obama emphasizes second-term plans at start of swing-state tour

Obama again accused his rival of suffering from “Romnesia” and having a “sketchy” economic plan, as he has done repeatedly on the campaign trail in recent days.

But the president also encouraged the crowd, estimated at 3,500 people, to go to his website to check out his plans, and to tell others to do likewise.

“Share it with your friends,” Obama said, joking that there might even be some uncommitted voters in the crowd who had thought they were visiting a purportedly haunted house nearby “and just wandered over.”

“I want everybody out there to compare my plans and Gov. Romney’s,” Obama said.

Obama’s comments are part of a larger battle by his campaign to rebuff the charge that he has chosen to criticize Romney rather than outline his vision for the next four years.

At a campaign rally in Florida last week, Romney accused the president of running “the incredible shrinking campaign.” 

“It's absolutely remarkable,” Romney said. “They have no agenda for the future. No agenda for America. No agenda for a second term."

A few days later, the Obama campaign published a glossy booklet outlining his second-term plans. Advisers said they would print 3.5 million copies of the plan for voters in battleground states.

Still, the shift in emphasis by Obama goes hand in hand with continued attacks upon Romney.

Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters en route to Iowa on Tuesday that Romney “has been untruthful about his positions with the American people.”

Psaki also sought to link Romney as closely as possible with the abortion comments that Richard Mourdock, the Republican Senate candidate in Indiana, made at a debate Tuesday evening. 

"I struggled with it myself a long time but I came to realize that life is a gift from God, that I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape that it is something that God intended to happen," Mourdock said.

“The president felt those comments were outrageous and demeaning to women,” Psaki said. “This is a reminder that a Republican Congress working with a Republican president, Mitt Romney, would feel that women should not be able to make choices about their own health care.”

The Obama spokeswoman also noted that Romney had cut an ad for Mourdock, and said “it is perplexing that he wouldn't demand to have that ad taken down.”

Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul released a statement noting that the GOP nominee “disagrees with Richard Mourdock's comments, and they do not reflect his views.”

The furor comes at a time when both campaigns are especially focused on female voters, who some experts believe have displayed more of a propensity of late to shift between the two candidates. 

Obama won the female vote by 13 percentage points over Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2008. He needs to maintain a sizable margin among women if he is to win, given that men are more firmly in Romney’s camp.

Obama’s Iowa appearance marked the beginning of a two-day tour that will take him to six swing states by Thursday evening. 

Later Wednesday, he is scheduled to hold events in Denver, Colo., and Las Vegas, Nev. He will also tape an appearance on Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show” in Los Angeles. 

Obama begins Thursday in Tampa before moving on to Richmond, Va., and Cleveland, Ohio. In addition, he will make a stop in Chicago, where he is expected to become the first president in history to cast a ballot in early voting.

The president stressed his connection to Iowa during his Davenport speech, recalling the pivotal role his victory in the state’s 2008 Democratic caucuses played in launching him toward the White House.

“Iowa: You know me,” he said at one point. “You know that I say what I mean and I mean what I say.” 

Returning to a similar theme at the conclusion of his speech, he added: “This is where it got started, Iowa. I believe in you, Iowa, and I need you to keep believing in me.”

The Hawkeye State is one of the battlegrounds that will likely decide the election’s outcome. The RealClearPolitics polling average indicates Obama has a two-point lead there, while New York Times polling expert Nate Silver gives him a 64 percent chance of prevailing there.