THE RACE: Obama hums a GOP tune: US exceptionalism

October 31, 2012 - 1:33 PM
Romney 2012

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gives a thumbs up as he arrives at a campaign stop in Tampa, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012. At rear on screen is a number for Red Cross donations for victims of superstorm Sandy. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Locked in a razor-thin battle for re-election, President Barack Obama is adapting a classic Republican tune: American exceptionalism.

"Now is the time to show the kind of generosity that makes America the greatest nation on Earth," Obama said during a visit to the American Red Cross as he oversaw the federal response to megastorm Sandy.

Obama was touring the storm-ravaged Atlantic City area Wednesday with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Usually a fierce critic, the Republican governor has praised Obama for quick crisis management and for expediting federal help to stricken states.

With Election Day fast approaching, both sides are straining to find new support. And Obama has been waxing more and more patriotic.

Long gone is the old Obama who spurned an American flag lapel pin and who drew criticism from Republicans in early 2009 when he told a NATO summit in France: "I believe in American exceptionalism just as I suspect the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism."

For one thing, few American policy-makers these days want to compare the U.S. to Greece.

More recently, Obama said: "There is not another country on earth that would not gladly trade places with the United States of America."

These days, a U.S. flag pin is ever present when he wears a suit.

Romney also had a Republican governor at his side Wednesday — ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — as he campaigned across Florida. And he also sought contributions to the Red Cross.

"Please, if you have an extra dollar or two, send them along," he told a Tampa rally. "We come together at times like this."

Then he shifted gears.

"People coming together is also what I believe is going to happen on Nov. 7," he said, predicting his victory in the Nov. 6 election.

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