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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Obama Looks for \'the Real Mitt Romney\'


DENVER â€" President Obama, seeking to regain his momentum after a debate dominated by his challenger, Mitt Romney, accused Mr. Romney on Thursday of presenting a false version of himself and his proposals in their first head-to-head encounter, on issues from tax policy and Medicare to federal support for teachers.

In a spirited, often sarcastic speech to 12,300 at a lakeside park here, Mr. Obama said, “I met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney. But it couldn't be Mitt Romney, because the real Mitt Romney has been running around the country, promising $5 trillion in tax cuts.” The Mr. Romney of the debate, he said, wants to put more teachers in classrooms and claims not to know that companies get tax breaks for outsourcing jobs.

“The man on stage last night doesn't want to be held accountable for the real Mitt Romney,” Mr. Obama said. “He knows full well that we don't want what he's been selling for the last year. If you want to be president, you owe the American people the truth.”

On a chilly, grey day, Mr. Obama seemed far more energetic than he had on Wednesday evening. Clad in khakis and a grey fleece, the president poked fun at Mr. Romney's threat to cut funding for the Public Broadcasting System and its signature children's character, Big Bird.

“Thank goodness someone is finally getting tough on Big Bird,” he said. “We didn't know Big Bird was driving the federal deficit.”

A supporter in the crowd cried, “Elmo,” another PBS children's character. “Elmo, too?” the president answered with a laugh.