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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Biden Calls Romney\'s Proposals \'Etch A Sketchy\'

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. â€" Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said Saturday that he needed to correct the remarks President Obama has been making, flashing a smile as he reprised the latest Democratic attack accusing Mitt Romney of offering Americans a “sketchy deal.”

“Romney wasn't sketchy,” Mr. Biden said. “He was Etch A Sketchy.”

The president first used the “sketchy deal” line at the debate on Tuesday, arguing that Mr. Romney's tax proposals did not add up, his job plan would not actually create jobs and his deficit-reduction proposals would only increase the nation's deficit.

The crowd of nearly 1,000 Democrats gathered here in a school gymnasium on Saturday afternoon roared with approval, particularly when Mr. Biden compared Mr. Romney to an Etch A Sketch. The reference was to a March comment, when a top adviser to Mr. Romney suggested that “everything changes” when the campaign moves from the primary to the general.

Using the term “sketchy deal,” is an intentional strategic move from the Obama campaign to fire up their base, advisers said, while trying to bluntly raise questions about whether voters can trust Mr. Romney.

The tone in the closing stage of the race is notable, with Mr. Romney trying to persuade people that he can reach across partisan lines and bring change to Washington.

For his part, Mr. Obama has injected a mocking tone to his criticism, the latest example coming on Saturday in a campaign video that outlined a five-step plan for Mr. Romney at the debate on Monday so he can “be a blundering success.”

With 17 days until the election, Mr. Romney is trying to turn the biting tone against his rivals.

“They've been reduced to petty attacks and silly word games,” Mr. Romney told a crowd Friday night in Daytona Beach, Fla. “The Obama campaign has become the incredible shrinking campaign.”

Mr. Biden, who co ncluded a two-day visit to Florida on Saturday afternoon, devoted most of his speech here to pointing out sharp contrasts with the Republican ticket.
But his voice turned serious at several points, reminding voters of the consequences of the election. He was accompanied by his daughter, Ashley Biden, a social worker, as he focused on pay equity and other women's issues.

“What do you think the chances are of Roe v. Wade surviving a Romney supreme court?” Mr. Biden asked.

Follow Jeff Zeleny on Twitter at @jeffzeleny.