MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden unleashed a back-to-back assault Tuesday on Republican challenger Mitt Romney, re-emphasizing Democratic assertions that Romney as a venture capitalist sent U.S. jobs overseas and paid no heed to the impact on American workers.
"You've got to give Mitt Romney credit," Biden said while campaigning in Iowa. "He's a job creator in Singapore, China, India."
Obama, who was holding fundraisers in Atlanta and Miami, cast his Republican rival as the type of wealthy investor whose only goal was making money no matter the cost.
"Governor Romney and his allies believe that we should go back to the top-down economics of the last decade. They believe that if we eliminate regulations and we cut taxes by trillions of dollars, we just leave the market alone, that everybody will prosper," Obama said in Miami Beach. "They argue that if you help corporations and wealthy investors maximize their profits by whatever means necessary, whether it be layoffs or outsourcing, union busting or whatever means are available, that will automatically translate into jobs and prosperity to benefit everybody."
Behind the criticism of Romney's business record is the Obama campaign's belief that the effort to undermine a potential Romney strength – his experience as the successful head of the private equity firm Bain Capital – is yielding results and raising questions with voters.
Biden made note of news reports that Bain took over firms that sent jobs to China and India and opposed union efforts to increase wages and improve benefits. The Romney campaign has argued that the reports aren't accurate and don't take into account how work done overseas supports U.S. exports.
"The president and I don't see American workers as part of the problem. We see them as the heart of the solution," he said.
Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul called Biden's comments misleading and said they were an effort to distract voters from Obama's "disastrous economic record."
"President Obama has failed to meet his own standard for lowering unemployment because he has no idea what it takes to get our economy moving again," Saul said in a statement. "On Day One, Mitt Romney will take action to jumpstart our economy and give job creators the incentives they need to thrive here in America."
The back and forth on Romney's business record has become a familiar campaign theme. A political committee supporting Obama began airing an ad over the weekend accusing Romney of making millions while shutting down an Indiana paper plant.
Biden was beginning a two-day visit to Iowa, a swing state whose six electoral votes could be significant in the November election. He spoke to more than 400 people, many of them union members from a John Deere factory, transit workers and members of a public employees union.
For Obama, it was the second day of targeting Romney. He emphasized that their contest is a choice between ideologies, not a referendum on his own performance.
"The question is not whether we need to put more folks back to work or whether we need to see the economy growing faster or whether we need to bring down our debt," he told the crowd of donors in Atlanta. "The question is how do we do it."
The president held two fundraisers in Atlanta, followed by two events in Miami Beach, including a performance by singer Marc Anthony, raising at least $2.3 million.
Obama was holding the fundraisers at the start of a pivotal week for his campaign. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on his health care overhaul law on Thursday, passing judgment on the most significant piece of legislation during his presidency.
And it comes as Obama and his team have warned that Romney and his Republican allies would outspend him during the presidential campaign.
In an e-mail to supporters Tuesday, Obama bluntly stated: "I will be the first president in modern history to be outspent in his re-election campaign, if things continue as they have so far."
The urgent tone was designed to spur more giving. Until last month, Obama had been by far the leading fundraiser in the presidential contest. But Romney, after securing the nomination, has consolidated his support.
Romney raised more than $76 million last month for his presidential campaign and for the GOP, compared to $60 million for Obama and the Democrats. Obama's advisers say they expect Republican-leaning super PACs to pull in $1.2 billion before the election, posing a big-money challenge for the president. Obama has more than $100 million in his campaign account, but Democratic super PACs have struggled to raise money.
Obama has now raised the stakes, saying that even without the help of GOP-leaning super PACs, Romney could still outspend him.
"You're going to have more money spent in this election than ever before by the other side on negative ads," Obama said in Atlanta. "And their message will be simple. They'll say, the economy is bad and it's Obama's fault."
Associated Press writer David Pitt contributed to this report from Waterloo, Iowa.