FORT PIERCE, Fla. (AP) — In dueling Florida appearances on Friday, Vice President Joe Biden portrayed Republican Mitt Romney as out of touch while Romney running mate Paul Ryan said President Barack Obama is blaming the country's problems on everyone but himself.
Biden spoke to large crowds at two well-attended rallies while Ryan participated in a round-table discussion and later spoke to donors. With less than three weeks until the election, both campaigns are aggressively trying to sway any undecided voters and are encouraging supporters to vote in Florida, whose 29 electoral college votes are the most among tossup states.
At a rally at a Fort Pierce school, Biden told a raucous crowd of around 1,200 people that the GOP ticket is out of touch with the middle class and sought to portray Romney and Ryan as unwilling to divulge the details of their economic plans.
"It's not just his Swiss bank accounts and his accounts in the Grand Cayman Islands, this man's out of touch," Biden said of Romney.
The Delaware Democrat equated Republican plans for Medicare to sending seniors "a coupon in the mail" and said their economic policies would help the super rich.
"To sign a pledge to Grover Norquist, they should be signing a pledge to you, to the middle class," Biden said, referring to the anti-tax advocate who has gotten many Republicans to pledge not to raise taxes. "They should be signing a pledge that says we're going to level the playing field. That's the pledge we sign."
Ryan told about 130 donors at a Boca Raton country club that restoring the country's free enterprise system is the best way to help the poor and to help people help themselves.
"We don't want to replace it, we want to revitalize it," the Wisconsin congressman said at a $2,500-per-person reception that preceded a $25,000-a-plate dinner. "That's what we're about. We're about growth, we're about opportunity, We're about restoring the American dream of opportunity and upward mobility."
Ryan said Obama has the country on a path of economic stagnation and dependency.
"The president can only win if he can distort, if he can distract and win by default. That's hardly hope and change," said Ryan, adding that he and Romney offer voters a clear choice. "They're tired of the president blaming other people, blaming the predecessor, blaming the weather."
Earlier, Ryan attended a round-table discussion at the University of South Florida's Center for Entrepreneurship in Tampa to talk about jobs and the economy.
Before about 200 guests and media, Ryan listened intensely to the 10 local participants, several of whom run successful research businesses in conjunction with the university. Participants said there is little seed money available to commercialize the products once developed and they asked Ryan how he and Romney would help.
The single "solution is growth," Ryan asserted. "There's no magic bullet. We have to restructure the top effective tax rate, eliminate lots of red tape and enable small banks to compete fairly with big banks."
Both the current administration and the Romney-Ryan ticket have promised to improve the innovation climate.
Biden visited the west Florida senior citizen enclave of Sun City Center, where about 1,150 people heard him hammer Romney on his remarks about women's issues during Tuesday's presidential debate. The Democratic ticket is seeking to recapture its edge among female voters.
"They do not believe that women have the right to control their own bodies," Biden said of the Republican nominees. "The president and I are absolutely, positively committed that my daughter and the president's daughters have every single opportunity to control their lives as my son and grandsons. It was made very clear that (Romney and Ryan) do not share that view."
Ryan was scheduled to join Romney later at a rally in Daytona Beach on Friday night, and Biden planned to hold an event in St. Augustine on Saturday. First lady Michelle Obama and Romney's wife, Ann, also planned visits to Florida ahead of the final presidential debate Monday at Lynn University in Boca Raton.
Lush reported from Sun City Center, Fla. Kathy Wingard in Tampa, Fla., and political writer Brendan Farrington in Boca Raton, Fla. contributed to this report.