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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- The presidential contest is defined anew by joblessness, and GOP challenger Mitt Romney is concentrating on the economy while President Barack Obama seeks to play to his strengths, with top aides all but daring their rival to engage in a debate over Medicare.
President Obama is in Florida for a two-day bus tour this weekend and Romney is campaigning Saturday in high-stakes Virginia.
Entering the final two-month sprint to the election, Romney is casting the President as an inept steward of the nation's post-recession recovery. Obama has been fighting that portrayal for months as the unemployment rate sticks stubbornly above 8 percent.
President Obama is countering by presenting himself as a champion of the middle class and by denouncing Romney's economic remedies as failed throwbacks that would endanger the economy.