President Barack Obama took on what he called “the new, latest version of Mitt Romney" during a visit to the University of Miami Thursday.
"He’s trying to go through an extreme makeover. After running for more than a year in which he called himself severely conservative, Mitt Romney is trying to convince you that he was severely kidding," Obama said in a grassroots event at UM's BankUnited Center in Coral Gables.
The incumbent Democrat, trying to bounce back from a lackluster performance in his first debate with the Republican nominee, said that what Romney had been selling to voters for much of his presidential campaign wasn't working. Now, Romney is for whatever voters are for, Obama said, including even the president's signature domestic policy – one that Republicans have roundly criticized him for.
"He even loves the most important parts of Obamacare. What happened?” Obama quipped.
Click here for a list of road closures and transit changes for Obama's visit on Thursday.
The president urged students and supporters to get excited for the election, while laying out the stakes.
"Everything that we fought for in 2008 is on the line in 2012. So I’m going to need you fired up. I’m going to need you ready to go," he said.
Obama will follow the UM event with a stop at the JW Marriott Marquis in Miami for a fundraising event that will be emceed by actress Eva Longoria.
Meanwhile, Ann Romney will visit the Chris Evert Children's Hospital in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday. On Wednesday, she visited Tampa's Moffitt Cancer Center where she met with fellow breast cancer survivors.
South Florida Voters React to First Debate
On Friday, Romney's son Craig will join Senator Marco Rubio for a student victory rally at Florida International University in Miami.
The South Florida visits come as recent polls show Mitt Romney gaining in three swing states – including Florida – following his strong debate performance in Denver, NBC News reported.
Mitt Romney Shows Softer Side in Florida
Romney and Obama are locked in a virtual tie in Florida according to the latest NBC News/Marist Wall Street Journal Polls. Romney's largest gain came in Virginia, where he edges Obama 48 percent to 47 percent, a 3-point reversal from last week's poll.
Obama maintains a slight lead in Ohio of 51 percent to 45 percent, according to the poll.
There were about 9,200 people at the Obama event in Coral Gables, according to a city fire marshal.
Obama plugged accomplishments including ending the war in Iraq, winding down the war in Afghanistan by 2014, and how “today al-Qaeda is on the run and Osama bin Laden is dead." On the domestic side, he promoted his tax cuts for middle-class families and small business owners, and what he referred to as "health care reform, a.k.a. Obamacare."
As he often does, Obama said that the U.S. can't turn back to the economic policies "that got us into this mess in the first place."
"I won’t let that happen. We can’t let that happen. That’s why I’m running for a second term as president of the United States of America," he said. “Florida, I have seen too much pain and too much struggle because of bad economic policies that happened before we got elected to let this country go through another round of top-down economics”
Obama vs. Romney: The Election at Your Local 7-Eleven