With less than a week left before Americans vote for their next president, US President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney outlined their vision for America over the next four years in special opinion pieces carried by CNN.
Both candidates focused mostly on what is troubling Americans the most – the fumbling economy. Israel and the Iranian threat were not mentioned in the articles.
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Obama praised the American people for their show of unity during superstorm Sandy and noted, "There are no Democrats or Republicans during a storm – only fellow Americans. That's how we get through the most trying times, together." Romney on his part declared he "Believes in America" and pledged to "restore fiscal sanity to Washington.”
Obama stressed the importance of the American people's unity, saying: "Four years ago, we were mired in two wars and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Together, we've battled our way back… We're not there yet. But we've made real progress."
He also played up what is widely perceived as two of his administration's greatest achievements: "Osama bin Laden is dead, the war in Iraq is over and our heroes are coming home."
Next Tuesday, Obama wrote, "America will get to choose between two fundamentally different visions of what makes America strong."
"America is a land of opportunity," Romney wrote in his opinion piece. "But… we've been mired in an economic slowdown that has left millions of our fellow citizens unemployed. The consequences in dreams shattered.
"We're all in this together. And together we can emerge from these troubles," he continued.
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Romney also praised the public's unity and resilience in the face of trying times, and lauded the American way of life.
Champion of the middle class? Obama (Photo: Reuters)
"America is a place where freedom rings. It is a place where we can discuss our differences without fear of any consequence worse than criticism, where we can believe in whatever creed or religion we choose, where we can pursue our dreams no matter how small or grand. It is a place that not only cherishes freedom, but is willing to fight to defend it. These are the qualities that define us," he wrote.
Fighting for every vote
Much depends on the swing states and senior analysts have said that even more depends on the way the middle class in the US – which has been effected the most by the recession – will vote.
Obama's opinion piece criticized Romney's tax plans and his ties to the upper echelon: "Governor Romney has started calling himself an agent of change… (but) more power for big banks and insurance companies is not the change we need.
"The folks at the very top don't need another champion in Washington," he wrote adding that it was the middle class that needed a champion in the US capital, because "When these Americans do well, America does well. It's time to finish what we've started… to make sure that no matter who you are, where you come from, or how you started out, this is the country where you can make it if you try."
Romney, on his part, criticized Obama's economic policy, saying he will "restore fiscal sanity to Washington."
Fiscal sanity? Romney (Photo: AP)
A Romney administration, he pledged, "Will stop President Obama's war on coal, his disdain for oil, and his effort to crimp natural gas by federal regulation of the very technology that produces it. By 2020, we will achieve North American energy independence."
Addressing the growing concern regarding the US deficit, Romney said that his administration "Will put America on track to a balanced budget by eliminating unnecessary programs, by sending programs back to states where they can be managed with less abuse and less cost, and by shrinking the bureaucracy of Washington."
Playing to the concerns of the middle class, he said: "We will champion small business, the great engine of job creation in our country, by reforming the tax code and updating and reshaping regulations that have suffocated economic growth."
Hinting to the rising power of China in the global market, Romney wrote that "We will finally hold accountable any nation that doesn't play by the rules. I will stand up for the rights and interests of American workers and employers."
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