WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama's campaign savagely mocked Mitt Romney as "out of touch" with ordinary Americans Wednesday with a web video featuring a highlight reel of the Republican's gaffes.
The move came as Romney, a multi-millionaire former venture capitalist, argues that it is Obama that has lost touch with the economic pain stalking the US heartland, and as each candidate tries to outdo the other in professing deep empathy with the middle-class.
"Mitt Romney is trying to call the president out of touch -- but the reality is Romney can't hide his out-of-touch policies behind hypocritical rhetoric," the Obama campaign said in a news release.
The video features a list of Romney's missteps, including such comments as "corporations are people," "I like being able to fire people," and "I'm also unemployed."
The video was released as a row rumbles over Obama's comment last week that the private sector was doing "fine," which Romney used to portray Obama as oblivious to the true state of the slowing US economic recovery.
Romney and Obama are fighting for the votes of middle-class Americans in a clutch of swing states that could decide November's election. Being seen as "in touch" with the plight of struggling voters is crucial for both campaigns.
The latest Obama campaign web offensive came on the eve of a key speech by the president in the swing state of Ohio, laying out the economic choice for voters he sees represented in his struggle with Romney.
The former Massachusetts governor on Wednesday issued a prebuttal of Obama's remarks, saying that the president would acknowledge that the economy was not going well, but would ask for four more White House years anyway.
"My own view is that he will speak eloquently but that words are cheap and that the record of an individual is the basis upon which you determine whether they should continue to hold onto their job," Romney said.
"The reason it has taken so long for this recovery to gain traction and to put people back to work is in large measure because of the policy choices the president made," Romney said.
"He is not responsible for whatever improvement we might be seeing, instead he is responsible for the fact that it's taken so long to see this recovery and the recovery is so tepid."