GOP, Dems pound points home in presidential race


(CBS News) WASHINGTON -- Both sides in the race for the White House are covering some familiar ground.

On Wednesday, Republicans continued a coordinated effort to pin the nation's debt on President Obama.

And Democrats described Mitt Romney as out of touch with the financial problems of most Americans.

In the battleground state of Florida, Romney told a crowd in St. Petersburg, "I'm concerned about the debt. I'm concerned about the spending."

Standing in front of a ticking debt clock, Romney argued that Washington's out-of-control spending, and what he calls Mr. Obama's failure to curb it, are responsible for the nation's debt.

"It is not at all what he promised," Romney said. "This presidency has been a disappointment."

A few hours later, House Speaker John Boehner told the president directly that he would not allow upcoming debt limit negotiations to go ahead without a plan to cut spending.

"It's time for us to deal with the big issues that are affecting our country and our society," Boehner said.

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Republicans blame the president for the country's economic problems and see it as a big election issue.

Boehner and Romney see much to criticize. Since Mr. Obama took office, the debt has increased 50 percent, from $10 trillion dollars to $15 trillion.

That's part of a new ad backed by former Bush strategist Karl Rove, who's working to beat the president in November.

The ad, from a group called Crossroads GPS, shows Mr. Obama saying, "Today, I'm pledging to cut the deficit we inherited by half by the end of my first term in office."

Then, a narrator says, "Broken - because he hasn't even come close."

But the Obama campaign is firing back.

In a fiery speech in Youngstown, in the key state of Ohio, Vice President Biden said, "They don't get who we are."

Vice President Biden argued that Romney -- after his years as head of the private equity firm Bain Capital -- is out of touch.

"Romney and his friends," Biden said, "believe if you help those at the very top. the rest are gonna fend for themselves, and America is going to turn out alright."

Obama campaign officials tell CBS News they think Romney is really vulnerable on Bain, and they plan to continue making it an issue.

They point out that Newt Gingrich, in the Republican primary, made it an issue and beat Romney in South Carolina.

So look for that line of attack to continue.

To see the Jan Crawford report, click on the video in the player above.

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    Jan Crawford is CBS News' chief legal correspondent and based in Washington, D.C.