MILWAUKEE -- President Barack Obama worked to squash GOP hopes for a resurgence of support in pivotal Wisconsin Saturday, pushing back against his Republican rival's arguments against an overly intrusive government.
Mitt Romney took precious time away from campaigning in the battleground states to appear at California fundraisers, but kept up his criticism that the president has fostered a culture of dependency.
Obama faulted Romney for advancing a top-down economic approach that "never works."
"The country doesn't succeed when only the folks at the very top are doing well," he said. "We succeed when the middle class is doing well."
With just six weekends left before Election Day, both candidates were devoting considerable time to raising cash to continue bankrolling the deluge of ads already saturating hotly contested states.
"As one who wore the number 44 on his back for decades, I ask you to join me in helping the 44th president of the United States hit a grand slam," Aaron said.
Romney, who is expected to launch a more aggressive campaign schedule in the coming week, hunted for West Coast cash, if not votes, at a private fundraiser near San Diego and headed for another in Los Angeles.
Some Republicans have grumbled that he's not spending enough time with voters in swing states, and Romney seemed to take note of that sentiment.
"I've got good news: This is the last fundraiser in San Diego," Romney told supporters. "I'm not even going to be able to go home today. We're just coming to town to see you and keep the campaign going. It's nonstop."
Obama's visit to Wisconsin was his first since February, and the president was intent on shoring up support in the home state of Rep. Paul Ryan, the GOP vice presidential candidate.
Obama won Wisconsin easily in 2008, but Ryan is popular here and recent polls have Obama up by single digits. The GOP showed its organizational strength in fending off efforts to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Still, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said Democrats "continue to have a strategic advantage," with more field offices and political infrastructure in the state.
Romney, at his fundraiser, said Obama was "taking Americans on a course that is extremely foreign to us."
"One would suggest that government knows better than free people," he said. "It's a pathway to become like Europe, and Europe doesn't work there. It's never going to work here."