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Obama attacks Romney with extended football metaphor

Barack Obama
President Barack Obama waves to supporters after speaking a campaign event at Scott High School, Monday, Sept. 3, 2012, in Toledo, Ohio. AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

(CBS News) TOLEDO, Ohio -- In what may be the longest football metaphor ever spoken by a presidential candidate in American politics, President Obama on Monday portrayed Mitt Romney as a "losing coach" whose game plan should be "punted away."

At a Labor Day event sponsored by the United Auto Workers Union, Mr. Obama seized on a comment Romney made in Ohio after the Republican Convention that "he's gonna be the coach that leads America to a winning season."

Actually, Mr. Obama left out the part of Romney's football analogy that targeted him. It was a swipe at the number of unemployed and underemployed on Mr. Obama's watch.

"If you have a coach that is zero and 23 million, you say it's time to get a new coach," said Romney last Saturday at a rally in Cincinnati.

Nevertheless, Mr. Obama downplayed Romney's chances of delivering a winning season for the economy, saying, "Everybody's already seen his economic playbook."

And then, as if he were the play-by-play man on the presidential gridiron, Mr. Obama began his call of Romney's game:

"On first down - he hikes nearly $2,000 on the average family with kids in order to pay for a massive tax cut for multi-millionaires."

"Sounds like unnecessary roughness to me," said the president to cheers from his audience of union members.

"On second down: he calls an audible and undoes reforms that are there to prevent another financial crisis and bank bailout. He wants to get rid of rules that are there to protect our air and water and workers' rights and protections that are there to make sure health care is there for you when you get sick."

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"Then on third down, he calls for a Hail Mary - ending Medicare as we know it - by giving seniors a voucher that leaves them to pay any additional costs out of their pocket."

Then - as if a whistle sounded:

"There's a flag on the play! Loss of up to an additional $6,400 a year for the same benefits you get now."

"That's their playbook," said Mr. Obama of the Romney-Ryan ticket. "That's their economic plan."

His post-game advice to football fans/voters, when it comes to the Romney-Ryan game plan: "Punt it away. It won't work. It won't win the game. You don't need that coach. That's a losing season."

The four downs described so pointedly by Mr. Obama clocks into the record books at two minutes and 13 seconds. And to hear the president tell it, Team Romney has no chance of scoring and if his game plan were implemented it would amount to a massive political fumble.

It remains to be seen if we'll hear Romney offer a play-by-play on Mr. Obama's leadership as if it were a round of golf.

But Mr. Obama had more to tell his UAW audience jammed into a local high school gym.

Trumpeting his administration's bailout of the auto industry, he said that if America had turned its back, GM and Chrysler wouldn't exist today. Its suppliers and distributors would have suffered "and that even Ford could have gone down as well."

"In communities across the Midwest, it would have been another Great Depression," the president said.

"I stood with American workers. I stood with American manufacturing. I believed in you," the president said, raising his voice to a crescendo as he does when trying to close the deal in his campaign speeches.

"I bet on you. I'll make that bet any day of the week. And because of that bet - three years later - that bet is paying off for America."

Reminding his crowd that Romney opposed the auto bailout and once said he would let Detroit go bankrupt, Mr. Obama portrayed the other party as anti-worker and anti-union.

"What they're saying is - the problem is that you - the workers - made out like bandits in this whole thing. That we did what we did because it was all about paying back unions."

The president said "even by the standards of political campaigns, that's a lot of you-know-what" - an apparent reference to a barnyard epithet.

He told rank-and-file union members and their families that he didn't understand how the Romney-Ryan team had "the nerve to talk about you like you're some greedy special interest that needs to be beaten down."

And whenever his audience booed its opposition to something said by Romney, Mr. Obama reminded them: "Don't boo - vote."

Union leaders preceded Mr. Obama's speech - telling their members in crucial Ohio that Mr. Obama showed he had their back and now is the time to have his.

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