* Obama campaign launches new ads attacking Romney
* Tension between sides over questions about Bain
By Alister Bull
GLEN ALLEN, Va., July 14 President Barack Obama,
soaked to the skin as he rallied supporters during a downpour in
the election battleground state of Virginia on Saturday, kept up
his attack on Republican Mitt Romney as the rhetoric hardened on
Standing before about 900 people at the Walkerton Tavern &
Garden who stood cheering and chanting despite the drenching
rain, Obama attacked Romney's record as head of a private equity
firm and contrasted his middle class childhood with Romney's
"I don't want a pioneer in outsourcing. I want some
insourcing. I want to bring companies back," Obama told the
crowd in this town near Richmond, his soaked blue shirt sticking
to his arms and rain dripping from his face, as supporters
chanted "Four more years."
With polls showing a close race for the Nov. 6 election,
Obama has constantly painted Romney as a multi-millionare
private equity specialist who is out of touch with ordinary
The president continued that on Saturday, reminiscing about
humble vacations as a child when his family would travel on a
Greyhound Bus and a highlight was being able to swim in the
motel swimming pool or using the motel's vending machines.
The Obama campaign also released two new ads on Saturday,
one of which played clips of Romney demanding the president
apologize followed by clips of the Republican candidate
attacking Obama. "Mitt Romney. He sure asks for a lot of
apologies. When he's not busy launching attacks," the ad said.
In the other ad, the main sound is of Romney singing
"America the Beautiful." Meanwhile, the ad scrolls through lush
images of Bermuda and the Cayman Isles to draw attention to the
Republican's offshore bank accounts while referencing the
outsourcing of U.S. jobs.
The Romney campaign slammed Obama for the ads.
"Every day, President Obama hits a new low," said Romney
campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul. "It is sad and shameful that
President Obama would mock America The Beautiful. But sadly it's
not surprising for the man who launched his presidency with an
Tensions between the campaigns have escalated sharply over
Romney's tenure at Bain Capital, which the Democratic president
has used to put his opponent on the defensive and switch the
conversation from Obama's stewardship of the weak economy.
Romney on Friday demanded that Obama apologize for his
campaign's attacks about his business record and questions over
whether the Republican was still leading Bain when the private
equity firm outsourced U.S. jobs abroad.
Obama has said since Romney touts his business background as
one of the main reasons he should be elected president, then
Romney should answer questions about when he left Bain Capital.
Obama also suggested that Romney was a deep pocketed
candidate who was mainly attacking him on the economy but had
not offered suggestions on how to fix it.
"Over the next four months the other side is going to spend
more money than we've ever seen in our lifetime on a bunch of
negative ads," Obama said, brushing rain off his face. "What
these ads are going to do is just say the economy isn't where it
needs to be and it's Obama's fault. That's their message."
"That's a plan for maybe winning the election but it's not a
plan for creating jobs or helping the middle class. It's not a
plan for rebuilding our economy."
Winding down his speech, Obama joked about the bad weather
as the rain picked up. "I'm wrapping up. Everyone is wet anyway
so it doesn't matter," he said to laughter. "Those hairdos are
Obama had another campaign event in northern Virginia on
Saturday as he wrapped up a two day swing through the state
before heading to Ohio on Monday. Both states are vital to his
re-election hopes in November and recent polls show him ahead in
Romney, who has said his business background will help him
turn around the U.S. economy and create more jobs, got caught
flatfooted this week in beating down Democrats' accusations that
he was involved in firing workers and outsourcing U.S. jobs to
foreign countries while at Bain.
Romney has said he left the firm in 1999, when he was tapped
to lead the Salt Lake City Olympics. But the Boston Globe
reported on Thursday that public records indicate he was still
registered as a top official at Bain for three more years.
Timing matters because Romney has said since he left Bain in
1999 he was not responsible for bankruptcies and layoffs at
Bain-owned businesses after that time. Obama's re-election
campaign has used those bankruptcies and layoffs to question the
Republican's track record.
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(Additional reporting by Deborah Charles; Editing by Vicki