By Alister Bull
DURHAM, New Hampshire (Reuters) - Barack Obama accused his November election rival Mitt Romney on Monday of having outsourced jobs to India and China and sought to convince voters that the former private equity executive is out of touch with their economic concerns.
In remarks to a rally in New Hampshire, the Democratic president seized on a Washington Post report that Bain Capital, the firm that Romney founded and led, had helped U.S. companies become "pioneers" in shipping work overseas.
"So yesterday his advisers were asked about this and they tried to clear this up by telling us there was actually a difference between outsourcing and offshoring," Obama told a fired-up crowd of supporters crowded into a high-school gym.
"If you're a worker whose job went overseas, you don't need somebody trying to explain to you the difference between outsourcing and offshoring. You need somebody who is going to wake up every single day and fight for American jobs and investment here in the United States. That's what you need. That's why I'm running," he said, to loud applause.
Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for the Romney campaign, has accused the president of using "false and discredited attacks" on Romney's business record to divert attention from his own economic failures.
"Mitt Romney was a successful businessman and governor with a decades-long record of helping to create American jobs, in contrast to President Obama's hostility to free enterprise that has left millions of Americans out of work," Saul said.
New Hampshire, though small, could be pivotal to whether Obama wins a second White House term in the November 6 vote, especially with Romney competing fiercely for larger election battlegrounds like Florida and Ohio.
Romney, one of the wealthiest men to ever seek the White House, has argued that his business record makes him better equipped to spur U.S. growth and bring down high unemployment than Obama, whose background is in law and community organizing.
Voter perceptions of the economy and candidates' economic leadership are expected to dominate the election.
New Hampshire is viewed as a swing state because so many of its voters see themselves as independent. But it has actually voted Democrat in four of the last five presidential elections and went solidly for Obama in 2008.
The state delivers four electoral college votes in November. To claim the White House, either Obama or Romney will need a total of 270 electoral college votes.
Later on Monday, Obama travels to Massachusetts for more campaign events. He will campaign in Georgia and Florida on Tuesday before returning to Washington.
(Additional reporting by Laura MacInnis in Washington; Editing by David Brunnstrom)