Speaking to supporters in Cleveland, Ohio, President Obama said that the coming election is about "two fundamentally different visions on which direction America should take."
The president told the audience at Cuyahoga Community College that he believed in a "vision that Democrats and Republicans used to share," of a collaboration between government and business that "worked for the American middle class."
In contrast, the president said that "the market is everything" for his presumptive-GOP rival, Mitt Romney -- "eliminate regulations, cut taxes, strip down the government and the power of business will be unleashed."
Mr. Obama said the Romney plan, to keep the Bush tax cuts in place and add another $5 trillion in tax cuts from programs that benefit the middle class, "is wrong and I'm not alone." According to the president, independent analysts agree that those policies would "slow the economy and deepen the recession."
The president added, "You can't have a strong and growing economy without a strong and growing middle class." He then laid out his agenda for government investment in education, clean energy, research and development, and rebuilding the national infrastructure.
The Republican's unwillingness to raise taxes on the highest income earners "is what is keeping us from reaching a grand bargain" on tax reform or bringing down the federal deficit.
"Your vote will determine the debate on which path we take," the president said. "That's what's at stake. Everything else is noise, a distraction."