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Obama unveils economic plan: 5 ways it differs from Romney's (+video)

The little blue 'new economic patriotism' booklet is President Obama's answer to Mitt Romney's 5-point plan – and to voters who want to know what he would do with a second term.

Obama launches eight state campaign blitz
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President Obama is campaigning with a new weapon in his hand – a little blue booklet that amounts his answer to Mitt Romney's "five point plan."

To critics on the conservative side, the new Obama blueprint for a second term contains little that would count as a big idea or a new idea. Rather, they say it's a symbol that Mr. Obama is waking up, belatedly, to the notion that voters want something from a candidate other than criticism of one's opponent.

It's true that Obama's "new economic patriotism" document, subtitled "A plan for jobs & middle class security," doesn't contain many new proposals. What it may accomplish is simply to offer a rebuttal to Mr. Romney's message that he has a plan and Obama doesn't.

Obama's aim may be to persuade undecided voters of two things. First is that he has some sensible ideas for a second term, including joining Romney in a few. (Obama partially embraces increasing domestic oil and gas production.) The second is that his Republican rival has plans that could prove risky for the economy and the middle class. ("I will never turn Medicare into a voucher," Obama says prominently in the document.)

Both candidates are distilling their agendas into bullet points designed to appeal to the relatively small pool of independent voters who remain up for grabs.
In many ways, the contrast between the two can be summed up in familiar terms: The Republican calls for smaller government, while the Democrat defends a larger or more activist federal role.

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