BOCA RATON, Fla. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Their debates now history, President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney on Tuesday opened the start of a two-week sprint to Election Day.
The President rallied voters in Florida and once again accused his Republican challenger of having a selective memory.
“If you say that you love American cars during a debate but wrote an article titled, ‘Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,’ you might have Romnesia,” the President told supporters Tuesday afternoon.
The Obama campaign is trying to paint Mitt Romney as a candidate who will say anything to get elected.
“That’s not leadership you can trust,” President Obama said. “You know me, you can trust that I say what I mean.”
The President also targeted voters in Ohio Tuesday, teaming up with Vice President Joe Biden in Dayton and releasing a new 20-page handout titled “Blueprint for America’s future.” The campaign will hand out three million copies to undecided voters, CBS 2’s Chris Wragge reported.
Mitt Romney made his first stop of the day in Nevada, where he focused on the economy and jobs.
“Would you like to have four years where we create 12 million new jobs?” Romney said to cheers.
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“If we’re going to see a real recovery and see that kind of direction, we’re going to have to have real change,” said Romney.
The Romney and Ryan ticket headed to Colorado Tuesday night.
Both campaigns are spending much of the next two weeks in the battleground states that will decide the election, Wragge reported.
Polls show the race for the White House virtually tied, and the candidates are doing everything they can to sway the few remaining undecided voters in those swing states.
The campaigns and their supporters are expected to spend around $100 million on TV ads from now until Election Day, Wragge reported.
Host of CBS News’ “Face the Nation” and moderator of last night’s debate Bob Schieffer said this election could be decided by a razor-thin margin.
“I think there’s a real possibility you might see one win the popular vote and the other win the electoral vote,” Schieffer said.
Closing out their trio of debates Monday night, Obama concisely summed up this pivot point in Campaign 2012: “You’ve now heard three debates, months of campaigning and way too many TV commercials. And now you’ve got a choice.”
The president framed it as a choice between his own record of “real progress” and the “wrong and reckless” ideas of Romney.
Romney countered by sketching “two different paths”offered by the candidates, one of decline under Obama and one of brighter promise from himself.
“I know what it takes to get this country back,” he pledged.
The 90-minute face off at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla. was divided into six 15-minute segments on foreign policy.
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According to an instant CBS News poll following the debate, 53 percent of uncommitted voters said Obama won the debate while 23 percent said Romney won. Twenty-four percent said it was a tie.
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And though the stated topic this time was foreign policy, both kept circling back to their plans for strengthening the fragile U.S. economy.
The two men did find accord on more than one occasion when it came to foreign policy.
Each stressed unequivocal support for Israel when asked about a U.S. response if the Jewish state were attacked by Iran.
But on the military, the two feuded.
“Our Navy is smaller now than anytime since 1917. The Navy said they needed 313 ships to carry out their mission. We’re now at 285,” Romney said.
“Well, governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines. And so the question is not a game of Battleship, where we’re counting ships,” Obama said.
The online reaction to Obama’s comment was swift.
On Twitter, the hashtag “horsesandbayonets” immediately began trending in the United States and became the top trend in the country and third worldwide, even an hour after the debate ended. On Facebook, users created more than 50 pages named “Horses and Bayonets.”
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee also pounced, posting a meme declaring “Obama just sank Romney’s battleship” that generated more than 84,000 likes and was shared more than 16,000 times in an hour.
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