Obama campaign boosted by property recovery
on 20/09/2012 07:11:39
The former Massachusetts governor has been performing virtually non-stop political damage control ever since a video surfaced on Monday showing Mr Romney telling donors last May that as a candidate for the White House, "my job is not to worry about" the millions of Americans who do not earn enough to pay income taxes.
Mr Romney continued working to reframe the video controversy into a philosophical difference between himself and Mr Obama - to his own advantage.
"The question of this campaign is not who cares about the poor and the middle class. I do. He (Obama) does. The question is who can help the poor and the middle class. I can. He can't," Mr Romney told donors at an Atlanta fundraiser.
Mr Romney added that the country "does not work by a government saying, become dependent on government, become dependent upon redistribution. That will kill the American entrepreneurship that's lifted our economy over the years".
But the challenger's attempts to get his campaign back on track ran into further difficulty in the form of criticism from fellow Republicans concerned with their own election prospects in the autumn.
"I have a very different view of the world," said appointed Senator Dean Heller, taking issue with Mr Romney's dismissive comments about the 47% of all Americans who pay no income taxes.
"I don't write anybody off," Mr Heller said.
Mr Obama spent the day in the White House, a rarity in a race with less than seven weeks yet to run. He invited democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma to the Oval Office, a chat between two Nobel Peace Prize winners.
Mr Romney raised campaign cash in Georgia, then headed for an evening speech in battleground Florida - one of about seven states that does not reliably vote for either party.
Because the US presidential election is decided on a state-by-state basis, rather than by popular vote, these battleground states will likely decide the election.
It will be Mr Romney's first appearance before a public audience since the emergence of the videotape.
In a campaign dominated all year by the sluggish economy, the government said construction of single-family homes jumped to the highest rate in more than two years.
Separately, the National Association of Realtors reported that home sales rose last month to the highest level since May 2010.
Real estate has been among the slowest sectors of the economy to recover from the national downturn of 2008.
A new AP-GfK poll - taken before the Romney video was revealed - put Mr Obama's overall approval rating among voting-age adults at 56%.
That was above 50% for the first time since May, and at its highest level since the death of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden more than a year ago.
Among likely voters, however, the race was a statistical tie, with Mr Obama at 47% and Mr Romney at 46%.
The two were also tied statistically when it came to handling the economy and the federal deficit, while the president was preferred on issues of protecting the country, handling health care and understanding the problems of "people like you".
On a question of personal credibility, 50% of likely voters said Mr Obama more often says what he really believes, while 42% said that applied to Mr Romney.
At the same time, 61% of likely voters described the economy as poor, and only 22% described it as good more than three and a half years after Mr Obama took office, another indication of the challenges he faces as he bids for a new term in a time of long-term unemployment over 8% nationally.
Other new surveys suggested growing support for Mr Obama in the wake of back-to-back national political conventions and Mr Romney's struggle last week to explain an erroneous statement issued at a time of demonstrations - one of them deadly - at US diplomatic posts in the Middle East.
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll taken from September 12-16 put the president's lead among likely voters at 50-44 % nationwide.