Obama is eager to connect with voters in the middle, and he enlisted Florida’s former Republican governor Charlie Crist in the cause. Crist, now an independent, spoke at the Democratic National Convention, and he introduced Obama in Seminole, telling the crowd that Obama was ‘‘working hard for the middle class,’’ for Florida and the nation.
Obama had a hug for Crist, and said his support shows ‘‘the values that we’re fighting for are not Democratic values or Republican values, they are American values.’’
At Obama’s second rally of the day, before 3,000 people in Kissimmee, he had a ready answer to Romney’s complaints about defense cuts.
‘‘As long as I'm commander in chief, we will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known,’’ he said. He said he would use some of the money that had been used fight wars for rebuilding schools and roads and bridges. There is actually no such leftover pot of money because the wars were fought primarily by borrowing.
Former President Bill Clinton will be campaigning for Obama in Florida in the coming week.
The Obama campaign sent Vice President Joe Biden to Ohio, another electoral battleground, where he mocked the Republicans for belatedly ‘‘discovering’’ the middle class.
Speaking to a crowd in Zanesville, Biden reminded voters of Romney’s opposition to the president’s auto industry bailout and asked if Republicans truly believe that had Romney been president, ‘‘there would be today, 115,000 auto jobs in Ohio.’’
‘‘All you Buckeyes out there, do you really think that Ohio, since 2010, would have added 50,000 manufacturing jobs? I think these are fair questions.’’
Later, Biden ducked in to the Dairy Queen in Nelsonville, where he mixed with customers and shared an ice cream cone ‘‘toast’’ to Nelsonville with his sister, Valerie Biden Owens, and former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland.
Rep. Paul Ryan, Romney’s running mate, was dispatched to California, for an evening fundraiser in Fresno, a rare departure from the battleground states dominating the campaign itinerary.
Both sides were stepping up mobilization efforts as Election Days approaches — with early voting kicking off in many states over the next few weeks. Democrats held a ‘‘nationwide weekend of action’’ courting voters in battleground states, and Republicans held their third ‘‘Super Saturday’’ to turn phone calls and door-to-door visits into votes.
Romney’s campaign announced Saturday it was showing a new Spanish-language ad in Florida that reinforces his argument that Obama is a decent man, but incapable of leading a more robust economic recovery.
‘‘He looks like a nice guy, but that doesn’t get us jobs,’’ a man says.
A political group supporting Obama released an ad criticizing Romney for policies that it says would increase the tax burden on middle-income families. The ad by Priorities USA Action, a so-called super PAC, is showing in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Beaumont reported from Virginia Beach, Va. Associated Press writers Nancy Benac in Washington and Matthew Daly in Columbus, Ohio, contributed to this report.
Follow Jim Kuhnhenn at —http://twitter.com/jkuhnhenn