By Jeff Mason and Alister Bull, Reuters
WASHINGTON/NEW YORK — U.S. President Barack Obama’s campaign released a video on Monday calling Mitt Romney’s private equity firm a job-killing “vampire” that ran a steel mill into the ground, signaling a new effort to carve into Romney’s image of corporate success. The Obama campaign’s six-minute video — a shorter version of which will air on TV stations in the key states of Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Colorado — came as the president’s team sought to draw dramatic contrasts between Obama and Romney, the presumed Republican nominee for president. Two days after Romney tried to woo conservative evangelical Christians in a commencement speech at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, Obama spoke at Barnard College, a women’s school in New York City, and urged the graduates to fight for a more equitable and tolerant nation. “Fight not just for a seat at the table,” Obama said, noting that women now make up nearly half the work force and have moved into leadership positions in many companies. “Fight for a seat at the head of the table.”
Later, the Democratic president attended two fundraisers in New York, including one with supporters from the gay community, co-hosted by openly gay singer Ricky Martin. The fundraiser was held less than a week after Obama announced that he supported same-sex marriages, a move that thrilled the gay and lesbian community but may not play as well with independent voters whose support will be crucial for Obama in the Nov. 6 election.
“We have never gone wrong when we expanded rights and responsibilities to everybody. That doesn’t weaken families, that strengthens families,” Obama said to applause. Drawing further applause, Obama also hinted at pushing for a repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) — the 1996 law barring federal recognition of same-sex marriage. “So everything we do — from Wall Street reform, making sure that banks aren’t taking risks with other people’s money that taxpayers may have to end up bailing out later, to repealing DOMA — all of these things are designed to make sure that we’re restoring middle-class security,” he said.