President Obama concludes a speech in Glen Allen, Va., a suburb of Richmond.… (Alex Wong, Getty Images )
GLEN ALLEN, Va. — To Mitt Romney's assertion that President Obama should back off his criticism of Romney's work at a private equity firm, Obama on Saturday offered a blunt answer: Not likely.
As the president campaigned across Virginia, he kept up the attacks on Romney's tenure at Bain Capital, accusing his Republican opponent of investing in companies that "pioneered" the practice of shipping jobs overseas.
"I don't want a pioneer in outsourcing. I want some in-sourcing," Obama said as he stood, soaked, in a downpour at an outdoor rally in Glen Allen, a suburb of Richmond. "I want to bring companies back."
At the same time, the president's campaign released a television ad that claimed Romney's firms "shipped jobs to Mexico and China"; that as governor he outsourced state jobs to India; and that he had millions of dollars in a Swiss bank account and had tax shelters in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.
The ad is set to music: Romney's own, halting rendition of "America the Beautiful" from a January campaign stop in Florida.
"Mitt Romney is not the solution. He's the problem," the ad says.
The spot is Obama's third ad currently hitting the issue of outsourcing, according to CMAG, a media tracking firm. The new one was airing in states that are the targets of both candidates.
The potential impact of the days-old Democratic assault on Romney and Bain was evident Friday night when the Republican, in a highly unusual move, granted interviews to all five networks.
"Is this up to the standards expected of the presidency of the United States?" Romney askedCNN'sJim Acosta.
He reaffirmed that he left Bain Capital in 1999 to run the Salt Lake City Olympics and said the Obama campaign was putting out "false and deceptive" information. News reports, meanwhile, said that Romney, in reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission, was listed as sole owner and chief executive of Bain Capital through 2002.
The dates are key because a longer tenure would suggest more responsibility for lost jobs and bankruptcies during the three-year period.
Obama's stop in Richmond and a later rally in the northern Virginia suburb of Clifton wrapped up a two-day swing through a state crucial to his chances in November. Obama won Virginia in 2008, the first Democratic presidential candidate to do so since 1964.
Most polls show him with a slim lead, but the president will probably need a strong turnout in the fast-growingWashington, D.C., suburbs, the city of Richmond and African American pockets of the state, as well as among independent voters in the suburbs.
Romney, meanwhile, spent a low-key day at his lakeside retreat in Wolfeboro, N.H., where he escaped for a boat ride Saturday afternoon on Lake Winnipesaukee. At one point he tried on a bike helmet and helped his sons and grandchildren gear up before he joined them on a bike ride, along with several Secret Service agents.
Hennessey reported from Glen Allen and Reston from Wolfeboro.