, MADISON, Wisconsin, Oct 4 – President Barack Obama spent Thursday firing off the lines he missed in his debate with Mitt Romney, clawing at his Republican foe in a bid to deprive him of a well earned polling boost.
Obama pounded out attacks at big rallies in Colorado and Wisconsin and was energetic, combative and concise, the opposite of the subdued and long-winded candidate outpointed by Romney on Wednesday night.
The president beseeched voters not to be duped by the suave debater seen by 67 million television viewers, but to focus on the “real Mitt Romney” who he said promised tax cuts for the rich and cared little for teachers.
“If you want to be president, you owe the American people the truth,” a fired-up Obama told supporters anxious not to see him fritter away his opinion poll lead with less than five weeks to go before election day.
But Obama aides admitted that they needed to have a “hard look” at their strategy before the next debate on October 16, after Romney used the first of a trio of head-to-head clashes to breathe fresh life into a sagging campaign.
Romney celebrated his debate coup with a surprise visit to a conservative conference in the Colorado city of Denver, and warned Obama’s economic policies would take America down a slippery slope to the fate of debt-laden Europe.
“I saw the president’s vision as trickle-down government and I don’t think that’s what America believes in,” Romney said. “I see instead a prosperity that comes through freedom.”
Romney’s victory lap was next to take in the vital swing state of Virginia, with his vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan in tow.
Obama sought to capitalise on openings he missed on Wednesday against the well prepared Romney, including his vow to end government subsidies for PBS television, the stomping ground of famed Sesame Street character Big Bird.