President Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney took their economic messages to voters in Ohio on Thursday, appearing in the state's two largest cities mere hours apart from each other.
Obama, with his campaign stumbling of late, looked to shift the narrative from poor economic news and jobs numbers -- which have damaged his campaign and boosted Romney's chances. The president spoke to supporters in Cleveland about "breaking the stalemate" between both parties in Washington.
Recent economic struggles have raised the perception that the nation's fiscal recovery is stalling -- if it ever happened at all. Still, both candidates look to frame the discussion as two distinct economic paths.
"This election is about our economic future. [It] presents a choice between two fundamentally different visions for creating strong, sustained growth," Obama said. "I have said that this is the defining issue of our time, and I mean it."
Congress was a frequent target of the president's ire, as he implored lawmakers to pass his jobs bill. Yet with Capitol Hill deeply divided, any progress on economic policy is unlikely at best.
Some Democrats have begun to suggest that Republicans have deliberately harmed the economy for political benefit by refusing to cooperate on policies. Republicans have vociferously denied that claim.
Romney, for his part, held a campaign event in Cincinnati and continued to attack Obama over the president's "private sector is doing fine" remarks from last week. Obama acknowledged the gaffe in his address.
"Wasn't the first time, won't be the last," Obama quipped.
The Republican nominee argued that Obama's "eloquent" words haven't amounted to much thus far.
"He's going to be a person of eloquence as he describes his plans for making the economy better, but don't forget -- he's been president for three and a half years, and talk is cheap. Action speaks very loud," Romney said.