Barack Obama has launched his first offensive against his presidential rival’s running mate, Paul Ryan.
Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential choice is widely seen as a radical reformer over a conservative budget he authored.
But the US President warned he was a threat to the elderly and the poor. Speaking at a fundraising event in Chicago, Obama described Ryan as the “ideological leader” of congressional Republicans who is bent on imposing “top-down economics on middle-class Americans.”
The new Republican duo has been warmly welcomed so far on its tour of key swing states.
Ryan’s fiscal record and plans to reform Obama’s flagship Medicare plan appear to have boosted the Republican campaign and given Romney fresh impetus to attack.
Addressing a crowd in Waukesha in the Wisconsin home state of Ryan, he said: “Mr President, take your campaign out of the gutter. People are having a hard time. They want to know if America is going to come back. It is. If it gets new leadership.”
In just over two weeks, Romney will be officially confirmed as the Republican presidential nominee at the party convention in Florida.