Clinton, Ryan make final pitches to Iowans

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 26: A worker adjusts the sign for Iowa on the floor ahead of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 26, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. The RNC is scheduled to convene on August 27 and will hold its first full-day session on August 28 as Tropical Storm Isaac threatens disruptions due to its proximity to the Florida peninsula. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) Spencer Platt

Offering the recurrent rationale that President Obama's plans are simply "better," former President Bill Clinton argued the case for continuing the economic policies of the current administration in an op-ed in today's Des Moines Register, which last week came out in support of GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

"The president's economic plan is better," Clinton said, reprising a point he made Saturday night while introducing Mr. Obama at a Bristow, Va., rally, that he has "done a good job with a bad hand."

He "took office with the economy losing 800,000 jobs a month in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. No president could have repaired all the damage he inherited in just four years," Clinton wrote in the op-ed, but pointed to improvements in the country's economic health - 250,000 jobs created by the auto industry bailout, for one - as proof that what Romney calls the president's "failed economic policies" are working.

Mr. Obama's education and health care plans are also "better," Clinton continued, citing some of Democrats' favorite points on the stump, including Romney's plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act. And abbreviating what was a relatively lengthy appeal to women Saturday night, Clinton argued the president "is creating a more inclusive, fairer America."

"He signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to help women fight back when they don't get equal pay for equal work," the former president wrote. "Governor Romney won't say if he would have signed it," the former president continued. "The president has opposed those who want to restrict access to contraception and eliminate a woman's right to choose in cases of rape or incest. Governor Romney has endorsed them."

In another op-ed, also in today's Des Moines Register, Romney's running mate Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., wrote that Mr. Obama has "offered nothing different" in his three and a half years as president, "and if re-elected, that's exactly what we can expect." Advertising the GOP ticket's new message of "real change," Ryan argued Romney offers "real reforms for a real recovery."

"We need real change - and Mitt Romney and I are offering specific solutions to deliver it," Ryan wrote, pointing to the nominee's "five-point plan to create 12 million new jobs and raise take-home pay for hardworking families." That plan includes taking advantage of U.S. energy resources, reforming trade, emphasizing job training in education, balancing the budget, and opening up job creation incentives for small businesses.

"That is our plan -- and this is our commitment to you: Mitt Romney and I will not duck the hard issues," Ryan wrote. On the other hand, he argued, the president's 2008 promises of bipartisanship and economic delivery "didn't happen."

"Washington is more divided than before," he wrote. "Our deficit has soared to more than a trillion dollars each and every year of the Obama presidency. More spending and bigger government have created uncertainty and impeded job creation in the private sector. Twenty-three million Americans are struggling to find work. Nearly one in six Americans is living in poverty."

The choice voters face on Nov. 6, Ryan said, is "much bigger than President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney, or Republicans and Democrats. This election is not just about picking a president for the next four years. It is about the kind of country we want to have and the kind of people we want to be."

The race for Iowa's key six electoral votes is considered close as a poll released Saturday by the Register showed Mr. Obama up 47 to 42 percent over Romney.

  • Lindsey Boerma On Twitter»

    Lindsey Boerma is senior video producer for CBSNews.com.

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