Romney countered with two new ads of his own, including one that appeared designed to minimize political fallout from the videotape.
‘‘President Obama and I both care about poor and middle-class families,’’ he says in a direct appeal to voters. ‘‘The difference is my policies will make things better for them. We shouldn’t measure compassion by how many people are on welfare. We should measure compassion by how many people are able to get off welfare and get a good-paying job.’’
The second ad pointed to comments Obama made four years ago when he said he would support proposals to raise the cost of business for facilities than run on coal. ‘‘So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them,’’ the then-presidential candidate is seen saying.
The narrator adds: ‘‘Obama wages war on coal while we lose jobs to China, which is using more coal every day. Now your job is in danger.’’
Romney campaigned at an American Legion hall in Springfield, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C., accusing Obama of supporting cuts in the defense budget that would be detrimental to the nation’s military readiness.
‘‘The world is not a safe place. It remains dangerous,’’ he said, referring to North Korea, Syria, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. ‘‘The idea of cutting our military commitment by a trillion dollars over this decade is unthinkable and devastating.’’
Appealing for support from his audience, he said, ‘‘You realize we have fewer ships in the Navy than any time since 1917. ... Our Air Force is older and smaller than any time since 1947, when it was formed. This is unacceptable. And the idea of shrinking our active duty personnel by 100,000 or 200,000 — I want to add 100,000 to active duty personnel.’’
To have a strong military, he said, it’s imperative to have a strong economy, yet he added that growth in China and Russia is stronger than in the United States. He predicted that under Obama, there would be no improvement.
‘‘So two—two very different paths. One is the path the president’s proposed, which is the status quo. His is the path of—well, he calls it ‘forward.’ I call it ‘forewarned.’ All right? All right?
The $1 trillion Romney mentioned in defense cuts had the support of Republicans and Democrats alike in Congress, although he says GOP lawmakers made a mistake in voting for the reductions and several now want to prevent them from taking effect.
Associated Press writers Matthew Daly in Springfield, Va., Beth Fouhy in New York and Ben Feller and Jim Kuhnhenn in Washington contributed to this report. Espo reported from Washington.