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Obama to GOP: America is not in decline

President Obama arrives for a campaign rally on the campus of St. Petersburg College September 8, 2012 in St Petersburg, Florida. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

(CBS News) No matter what Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan says about the nation being "in decline," President Obama said Saturday, "there's not a country on Earth that wouldn't gladly trade places with the United States of America."

"When our opponents say this nation is in decline, they are dead wrong - this is America," the president said, drawing cheers from a spirited rally crowd in Seminole, Fla., the first stop of his two-day bus tour through the critical battleground state.

Earlier this week, Ryan said the growing federal debt renders the United States a country "in decline."

President Obama refuted Ryan: "No matter what the naysayers may say for political reasons, no matter how dark they try to make everything look, we still have the best workers in the world and the best entrepreneurs in the world. We've got the best scientists and the best researchers. We've got the best colleges and the best universities. We are a young nation with the greatest diversity of talent and ingenuity from every corner of the globe."


Both Mr. Obama and his GOP rival Mitt Romney, who is campaigning in Virginia (another key swing state) are trying to surf their waves of momentum coming out their respective parties' conventions. Following a vigorous nomination acceptance speech Thursday night, during which he admitted some mistakes and argued for another four years to get his policies moving, the president in Florida sounded the same themes, substantively, as he did at the Charlotte convention, and in New Hampshire and Iowa on Friday: On energy, the tax code, education, and health care - "We're not going back, we're going forward."

The president repeated a swipe at the GOP ticket's promise to repeal his health care law, replacing what Republicans call "Obamacare," Mr. Obama said, with "Romney-don't-care." To laughter, he criticized Romney and Ryan as offering "the same prescriptions [Republicans] have had for 30 years: Tax cuts. ...Tax cuts to help you lose a few extra pounds, tax cuts to help your love life."

Mr. Obama will make another stop later in the day at Florida's Kissimmee Civic Center.