RENO, Nev. — President Barack Obama accused rival Mitt Romney of being oblivious to the burdens of paying for college on Tuesday, telling young voters in Ohio and Nevada that his opponent's education policies amount to nothing more than encouraging them to tap their parents for money or "shop around" for the best deal.
"This is his plan. That's his answer to a young person hoping to go to college — shop around and borrow more money from your parents if you have to. Not only is that not a good answer, it's not even an answer," Obama said at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno.
Turning to young voters, a key part of his 2008 coalition, the president sought to meld Romney with the House Republican budget blueprint offered by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Romney's running mate. Democrats contend that Ryan's budget proposal, which failed to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate, would cut aid for college students.
Earlier, at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, Obama said: "Not everybody has parents who have the money to lend. That may be news to some folks."
Romney's campaign countered Obama's education critique, saying college costs had skyrocketed under his watch and his economic policies had made it difficult for college graduates to find work. Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said Obama's policies were "just more of the same from a president who hasn't fixed the economy or kept his promises to the young people who supported him four years ago."
Obama and Romney remain locked in a tight presidential campaign a week before the former Massachusetts governor formally claims his party's nomination at the GOP convention in Tampa. Both campaigns have broadened their message to voters in recent weeks beyond the economy, which remains the most pivotal issue for voters less than three months before the election.
Romney was raising money to bolster his campaign in Texas, where he told donors that his campaign was "a little wiser in our spending of dollars" than Obama's campaign, pointing to new finance documents released by Obama's campaign on Monday that showed it spent more money in July than it brought in.
Romney and Republicans have outraised Obama and Democrats for the past three months, a sign of broad GOP interest in defeating the incumbent president.
"I'm not managing their campaign for them, but we're going to spend our money wiser," Romney said in Houston, where he was expected to pull in more than $6 million. "We're going to spend it to win."
In a nod to oil-rich Texas, Romney told donors he planned to announce a "comprehensive energy plan" during a stop in New Mexico this week but offered few details beyond a focus in part on fossil-based fuels. Romney said his aim was to "fully take advantage of our energy resources."