Here is your 2012 presidential campaign in a nutshell: The unrepentant rich guy vs. the president drowning in bad economic news.
Mitt Romney strode to a podium in a hardware store in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, on Friday morning, looking tanned and relaxed against a backdrop cluttered with manly implements. He had taken time out from vacationing at his estate on Lake Winnipesaukee to deliver a statement deploring the awful new jobs report, which he called "another kick in the gut to middle-class families."
When it was time for questions -- in a rare-ish occurrence that seemed to signal he's trying to loosen up, Romney took questions from the assembled press -- someone asked about that vacation, which has included such conspicuously not-miserable fun in the sun as jet-skiing with his wife and a highly structured series of contests called the "Romney Olympics."
"I'm delighted to be able to take a vacation with my family," Romney said. "I think all Americans appreciate the memories they have with their children and their grandchildren. I hope that more Americans will be able to take vacations when I'm president of the United States."
More than one wag suggested on Twitter that Romney's new slogan could be, "A jetski in every pot!" But if the vacation imagery was awkward for Romney (the president, for his part, recently decided to forgo his usual summer trip to Martha's Vineyard), Obama, speaking a few minutes later at a campaign event in Poland, Ohio, faced an even more sticky situation -- that unsightly jobs report, which showed the country created just 80,000 new jobs in June.