President Obama campaigned in Iowa on Tuesday, promoting his plan to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for those who make under $250,000 a year — but not for more wealthy Americans.
Republican Mitt Romney was in another swing state, Colorado, hitting a new Republican charge that some of Obama's policies have helped create jobs overseas at the expense of the domestic job market.
Obama attacked congressional Republicans, saying they threaten the extension of middle-class tax cuts.
"What's holding us back from making even more progress than we've made is a stalemate in Washington between two fundamentally different views about which path we should take as a country," Obama said. "This election is about breaking that stalemate."
Romney has called for an extension of all Bush-era tax cuts — including those for wealthy Americans. All of the cuts are set to expire at the end of the year.
At a town hall meeting in Grand Junction, Colo., Romney said his energy policies would create U.S. jobs. He said Obama has stifled job creation by approving policies that make it harder to mine for coal and drill for oil.
"The more he pursues those policies, the harder it will be for America to go back to work," Romney said.
Obama and the Democrats have recently criticized Romney's career at Bain Capital, and charged that many of the companies that Bain managed ended up sending jobs overseas.
Romney turned the tables on Tuesday: "If there's an outsourcer-in-chief, it's the president of the United States, not the guy who's running to replace him," he said.
Romney said the Obama administration provided green energy companies with stimulus money they then used to build products in foreign countries, instead of the United States. The Republican National Committee unveiled a coordinated message on Tuesday in the form of a new website.
At Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Obama said: "Frankly, the choice could not be clearer. My opponent, his allies in Congress, they sincerely believe that prosperity comes from the top-down. They believe that if we spend trillions of dollars more on tax cuts mostly for the wealthy that it'll somehow create more jobs, even if we have to pay for it by gutting education."
Both Iowa and Colorado are considered key swing states going into November's presidential election.
Iowa has a relatively low unemployment rate at 5.1 percent, below the national average of 8.2 percent. Colorado's unemployment rate is 8.1 percent.