President Obama speaks Wednesday at Daimler Trucks North America's… (John W. Adkisson / Getty…)
Reporting from Washington —
President Obama spent Wednesday morning talking about fluctuating gas prices with auto workers in North Carolina as his campaign doubles down on its effort to frame Republicans as out of touch with problems of the middle class.
Speaking to workers at the Daimler truck plant in Mt. Holly, Obama complained that Republicans in Congress haven't gotten behind his proposal to cut subsidies for big oil companies.
And on the campaign trail, he said, other candidates aren't offering realistic solutions to reducing reliance on foreign oil.
"We're not going to be able to drill our way out of the problem of high gas prices," Obama said. "They can stand up for the oil companies, or they can stand up for people."
The remarks came as Republican Mitt Romney reached out to conservative voters and asserted himself as the eventual GOP nominee in the wake of Super Tuesday victories that included a narrow but significant win in the swing state of Ohio.
His campaign targeted Obama on Wednesday, with advisors pointing to the volatile price of gasoline as a vulnerability for the Democratic president.
In Chicago, Obama campaign officials interpreted Romney's Super Tuesday numbers as a sign that he is not winning over key voter groups.
Romney lost with independents in every Super Tuesday state but one, Obama campaign officials said, leaving him vulnerable in crucial states next fall.
If he's nominated, Romney will campaign as the candidate who said "let Detroit go bankrupt" and who "disdains manufacturing," Obama advisor David Axelrod said.
"How do you go to the industrial Midwest," Axelrod asked reporters, and say, "‘I'm the candidate for you?'"