President Barack Obama told supporters in Nevada Thursday Republican nominee Mitt Romney is running as the candidate of change, "but we don't want that change."
Obama returned to the campaign trail Thursday with stops in Wisconsin, Nevada and Colorado -- all swing states. He had spent Monday and Tuesday in Washington monitoring the progress of Hurricane Sandy before visiting parts of devastated New Jersey Wednesday with Republican Gov. Chris Christie.
Romney -- who toned down his attacks on Obama and turned campaign rallies into relief events for those affected by the hurricane -- returned full force to the stump Thursday as well, campaigning in the battleground state of Virginia.
Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters aboard Air Force One the president will be "laying out his closing argument to the America people today in his remarks."
"Now, part of that is laying out the choice between him and his opponent," she said.
The Romney campaign has been emphasizing a theme that this is a change election and that Romney is the candidate of change. In the closing days of the campaign, Obama is striking a theme that he has brought about change as president, and that the change Romney promises "is going back to the same policies that led us into this mess and calling it change," Psaki said.
She said a Romney campaign ad in Ohio implying General Motors Co. used funds from the automobile industry bailout to hire more workers in China than in the United States was "a Hail Mary pass" that raises "a character issue."
"Mitt Romney is closing the campaign in Ohio with an ad of fear -- scare tactics to scare the workers in the state about -- with false statements about what's going to happen at the Jeep plant, when we all know, and the plant has made clear, what the facts are," she said.
GM and Chrysler have denounced the Romney ad, and Vice President Joe Biden said in Florida Wednesday the ad is "an outrageous lie" and "one of the most flagrantly dishonest ads I can ever remember in my political career."
Obama told a campaign rally in Green Bay, Wis., the bipartisan response to the massive storm that struck the U.S. Northeast illustrates that when disaster strikes "there are no Democrats or Republicans during a storm -- just fellow Americans," adding America doesn't need "a partisan agenda."
"We don't need a big government agenda, or a small government agenda. We need a middle-class agenda that rewards hard work and responsibility," Obama said.
Obama said change during his term in office had been frustrated by "protectors of the status quo."
"Over the last four years, every time we tried to make change, they fought back with everything they've got," he said.
At a campaign rally in Las Vegas, Obama told supporters he had spoken by conference call en route to Nevada with mayors and other elected officials in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut and emphasized what he said Wednesday in Brigantine, N.J. -- that "America will not forget them" as they recover and clean up from the storm.
"We are going to make sure they get everything they need," he said. "We're going to cut through the red tape and the bureaucracy."
One who hasn't paused is former President Bill Clinton, who has been a whirling dervish for Obama, racking up mileage as he visits state after state after state in the days before Election Day. Clinton spoke at 13 events in seven states in four days this week, adding to a dizzying campaign schedule observers say is unprecedented for a former president, ABC News reported.
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