MANSFIELD, Ohio (AP) - Eager to turn the tables on his rival, President Barack Obama on Wednesday cast Republican challenger Mitt Romney as an advocate of tax cuts for the richest people in America at the expense of popular tax breaks for most everyone else.
Romney, Obama declared, "is asking you to pay more so that people like him can get a big tax cut."
The president was reprising the middle-class tax debate with campaign stops in Ohio in Republican-friendly Mansfield and in the Democratic stronghold of Akron. The trip came at the start of an August campaign drive toward the two parties' national conventions at month's end and early September.
Countering the Republican argument that Obama's proposals would hurt small businesses, Obama charged that Romney's tax proposal would force many people to give up popular tax deductions for home mortgages, health care and college tuition. He pointed to a new report that concluded Romney's economic plan would shift the tax burden from wealthy taxpayers to low- and middle-class taxpayers.
"Folks making $3 million or more a year would get a quarter of a million dollar tax cut," Obama told more than 2,000 supporters. "But listen, it gets worse. Under my opponent's tax plan, who do you think gets the bill for these $250,000 tax cuts? You do."
Invoking the study by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, Obama said Romney's plan would result in a tax increase of more than $2,000 a year for an average family with children.
"Ohio, we do not need more tax cuts for folks who are already doing really well," he said.
The Romney camp dismissed the study as a partisan report, noting that one of its three authors, Adam Looney, was a former member of Obama's economic policy team. Another author, William Gale, however, was a senior staff economist for President George H.W. Bush's Council of Economic Advisers.