By Steve Holland

BELMONT, Mass., Sept 15 (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney accused President Barack Obama on Saturday of standing by while a looming budgetary calamity unfolds in Washington as he sought to regain his footing after a tough week on the campaign trail.

Romney leaped into the debate over the "fiscal cliff," the potential for an end-of-the-year uproar when some $109 billion in across-the-board spending cuts kick in unless Obama and Congress reach a deficit-reduction deal to avert them. Bush-era tax cuts also expire at year's end.

The Washington debate mirrors the campaign battle between Obama and Romney. Democrats want to make up the shortfall by increasing taxes on wealthy Americans while Republicans favor spending cuts.

"Political gridlock threatens to plunge us back into recession, but instead of seeking bipartisan solutions, President Obama is passively allowing us to go over a fiscal cliff," Romney said in his weekly podcast.

The White House said in releasing a breakdown of the cuts on Friday that it was congressional Republicans who are standing in the way of a deal because they refuse to accept a more balanced approach.

The White House and Congress, Democrats and Republicans, including Romney's vice presidential running mate, Paul Ryan, agreed on the automatic cuts under an August 2011 deal.

Romney, who has vowed to build up the U.S. military if elected on Nov. 6, has singled out for criticism the $54 billion in defense cuts that would kick in at year's end. He says this is no time to shrink the Pentagon's budget.

"What kind of commander-in-chief forces Americans to choose between massive tax hikes that will undermine the economy and massive cuts to our military that will undermine national security?" said Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul.

Romney is ending a rough week during which he fell behind Obama in the polls and came under criticism from Democrats and some Republicans for making a campaign issue of the deaths of four Americans killed by Muslim protesters at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.

The candidate took the day off on the campaign trail on Saturday. He spent part of the afternoon watching one of his grandson's soccer games. Romney travels to Colorado and California on Sunday.

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  • Al Gore & Manbearpig

    This guy was super cereal about making a bad decision. <em>(<a href="http://ugliesttattoos.failblog.org/2011/02/09/funny-tattoos-manbearpig/" target="_hplink">Ugliest Tattoos</a>)</em>

  • Hillary Clinton

    This is what happens when you ask for a tattoo that nobody else in the world has. More on this <a href="http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/entertainment/celebrities_gossip/Philly_tattoo_artist_gets_Hillary_tattoo_Hillary_camp_wont_discuss_it.html" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Bill Clinton

    Bubba's dreamy gaze really comes through on an inked up bicep. <em><a href="http://godfatherofgreenbay.xanga.com/photos/870ff281675986/" target="_hplink">(source)</a></em>

  • Tea Party

    'Merica.

  • Second Amendment

    You have to admire the directness of this tattoo. <em><a href="http://ugliesttattoos.failblog.org/2010/10/18/funny-tattoos-the-right-to-ugly-arms/" target="_hplink">(Ugliest Tattoos)</a></em>

  • Dick Cheney

    When in doubt, just cover up that old tat with one of an ex-vice president devil-goat. <em>(<a href="http://www.iphonesavior.com/2008/10/zune-tattoo-guy-makes-dick-cheney-the-devil.html" target="_hplink">source</a>)</em>

  • Don't Tread On Me

    The tattoo on the right must complicate the process of getting a back-walking massage. <em><a href="http://rsmccain.blogspot.com/2009/04/extreme-youth.html" target="_hplink">(source)</a></em>

  • GOP Elephant

    Well, would ya look at that. That's, uh, that's a tattoo. Go you. <a href="http://www.tattoorack.com/tattoo-designs/25634-gop" target="_hplink"><em>(Tattoo Rack)</em></a>

  • GOP Swastika

    Remember now, they're permanent. <em><a href="http://ugliesttattoos.failblog.org/2012/04/10/funny-tattoos-gopstika/" target="_hplink">(Ugliest Tattoos)</a></em>

  • JFK, Part I

    "Ich bin ein tattoo." <em><a href="http://lelkola.deviantart.com/journal/Tattoos-for-life-216746012#/d1xarbc" target="_hplink">(source)</a></em>

  • JFK, Part II

    We're sure it makes sense in the context of the rest of the arm. <em><a href="http://sinnermantattoo.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/JFK.112133612_large.jpg" target="_hplink">(source)</a></em>

  • Anti-Gay Bible Scripture

    You know what else Leviticus says? <a href="http://bible.cc/leviticus/19-28.htm" target="_hplink">No tattoos</a>. Also <a href="http://bible.cc/leviticus/19-27.htm" target="_hplink">no haircuts</a>. <em><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dF5M9v1ydh0" target="_hplink">(source)</a></em>

  • Richard Nixon

    And here's Nixon as a tattoo, by way of "The Simpsons." <em><a href="http://www.ratemyink.com/?action=ssp&pid=112075" target="_hplink">(Rate My Ink)</a></em>

  • President Barack Obama

    Whoa. Too much detail. <em>(<a href="http://offbeatink.com/experiences/can-we-get-an-obama-tattoo-yes-we-can/" target="_hplink">Offbeatink.com</a>)</em>

  • Obama 44

    Whoa. Not enough detail. <em>(<a href="http://www.tattoostattoo.com/Free/Obama-44-number.html" target="_hplink">source</a>)</em>

  • Sarah Palin

    We'd be remiss not to make an "I can see butt-crack from here" joke. More on the tattoo from the <em><a href="http://militarytimes.com/blogs/battle-rattle/2010/05/27/gunnys-sarah-palin-tattoo-the-butt-of-jokes/" target="_hplink">Military Times</a></em>.

  • Ronald Reagan

    Clearly a fan of trickle down economics. And tramp stamps. <em><a href="http://www.allweirdpics.com/pictures/Ronald_Reagan_Tattoo.htm" target="_hplink">(Allweirdpics.com)</a></em>

  • Ron Paul

    Reminds me of my Green Party tribal band. <a href="http://reason.com/blog/2008/03/20/the-revolution-will-be-tattoiz" target="_hplink"><em>(Reason)</em></a>

  • Sarah Palin, Part II

    <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Governors_of_Alaska" target="_hplink">Alaska's third-most popular half-term governor</a> assumes her rightful place on your calf, where she'll stay forever. <a href="http://ugliesttattoos.failblog.org/2011/07/15/funny-tattoos-unflippinbelievable/" target="_hplink"><em>(Ugliest Tattoos)</em></a>

  • Teddy Roosevelt

    An exact replica of the presidential portrait in the White House. That's what we hear. <a href="http://godfatherofgreenbay.xanga.com/photos/0dd12281676014/" target="_hplink"><em>(source)</em></a>

  • Sarah Palin, Part III

    Think of someone you find repulsive and toxic, then brand a picture of said person's face on your body. Voilà.

  • White Power Unicorn?

    This is one confused racist. <a href="http://ugliesttattoos.failblog.org/2012/02/08/funny-tattoos-nazi-rainbow-ponies-are-the-worst/" target="_hplink"><em>(Ugliest Tattoos)</em></a>

  • Jimmy Carter

    Poor Jimmy Carter -- always the *<em>butt</em>* of political jokes. See what we did there?