Obama talks to voters about college costs

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- President Barack Obama charged Tuesday that rival Mitt Romney was oblivious to the burdens of paying for college, telling young voters in battleground Ohio that his opponent's education policies amounted to having students borrow from their parents or "shop around" for the best deal.

"That's his plan. That's his answer to young people who are trying to figure out how to go to college and make sure that they don't have a mountain of debt," Obama said at Capital University in Columbus. "Not everybody has parents who have the money to lend. That may be news to some folks."

Turning to young voters, a key part of his 2008 coalition, the president sought to draw a distinction between him and Romney's education policy in his latest attempt to meld Romney with the House Republican budget blueprint offered by his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan.

Romney's campaign countered the president's education critique, saying college costs had skyrocketed under Obama's watch and his economic policies had made it difficult for recent college graduates to find work.

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, Fla.

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 operations in Texas. There, he told donors that his campaign was "a little wiser in our spending of dollars," pointing to new finance documents released Monday by Obama's campaign that showed it spent more money in July than it brought in.

Romney and the Republicans have outraised Obama and the Democrats for 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 later this week but offered few details beyond a focus in part on fossil-based fuels. Romney said his aim would be to "fully take advantage of our energy resources."

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