COLUMBUS, Ohio — US President Barack Obama showed new urgency Tuesday as he repeatedly jabbed Republican Mitt Romney in a stylistic shift following his own lackluster debate performance.

Obama, using a speeded up, staccato version of his speech, implored students in Ohio to vote and try to get other supporters out to do so on November 6 following his sudden slide in the polls in the wake of Romney's debate victory.

The president was hammered for being long winded and drowsy in the first of a trio of debates with Romney last week, and he appeared Tuesday to be debuting a more direct, punchy style, ahead of his next clash with Romney on October 16."

"I need you fired up. I need you ready to go to vote because we've got work to do. We've got an election to win," Obama told a crowd of 15,000 people, mainly students on the first day of early voting in Ohio.

"Everything that we fought for in 2008 is on the line in 2012. And I need your help to finish what we started."

Obama then launched into a swift summary of his term, noting that he ended the war in Iraq, honored a promise to chase down Osama bin Laden, passed health care reform and cut taxes for small business owners.

"We have come too far to turn back now," he said, also mentioning the auto bailout which helped rescue the economy in crucial swing-state Ohio and his repeal of the ban on gays serving openly in the military.

"The American people have worked too hard, and the last thing we can afford to do right now is to go back to the very same policies that got us into this mess in the first place," Obama said.

"I cannot allow that to happen. I will not allow it to happen."

Obama also took aim at Romney, who pays a lower tax rate than most Americans because his wealth is taxed as investment income rather than as a salary.

"You know, Governor Romney said it's fair that he pays a lower tax rate than a teacher or auto worker who makes $50,000. He is wrong," Obama snapped.