Obama, Romney take fight over economy—to LinkedIn

Olivier Knox

They've dueled on the airwaves, on Twitter and on Facebook, and now President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney are taking their fight over the economy to an audience heavy with job seekers—the networking site LinkedIn.

The Democratic incumbent and his Republican rival contributed brief posts on what they would do if elected in five weeks. The posts are part of a new feature of the site that will allow members to follow "150 of the most influential thought leaders on LinkedIn," the company said. The two politicians will start at zero "followers."

(Other "influencers," as the company calls them, include billionaire Richard Branson of Virgin, energy tycoon T. Boone Pickens, former Wall Street bailout overseer Neil Barofsky, Huffington Post founder and Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington and superagent Ari Emanuel. You can also apply to become an influencer.)

Obama and Romney broke no new ground, however, in their statements about the economy, which reflected their campaign's boilerplate messages. Here are their contributions:

Barack Obama - President of the United States of America

A plan to move us forward

During the last weeks of this campaign, there will be debates, speeches and more ads. But if I could sit down with you in your living room or around the kitchen table, here's what I'd say:

When I took office we were losing nearly 800,000 jobs a month and were mired in Iraq. Today I believe that as a nation we are moving forward again. But we have much more to do to get folks back to work and make the middle class secure again.

Now, Governor Romney believes that with even bigger tax cuts for the wealthy and fewer regulations on Wall Street, all of us will prosper. In other words, he'd double down on the same trickle-down policies that led to the crisis in the first place. So what's my plan?

First, we create a million new manufacturing jobs and help businesses double their exports; give tax breaks to companies that invest in America, not that ship jobs overseas.

Second, we cut our oil imports in half and produce more American-made energy—oil, clean coal, natural gas, and new resources like wind, solar, and biofuels—all while doubling the fuel efficiencies of cars and trucks.

Third, we ensure that we maintain the best workforce in the world by preparing 100,000 additional math and science teachers; training 2 million Americans with the job skills they need at our community colleges; cutting the growth of tuition in half and expanding student aid so more Americans can afford it.

Fourth, a balanced plan to reduce our deficit by four trillion dollars over the next decade. On top of the trillion in spending we've already cut, I'd ask the wealthy to pay a little more. And as we end the war in Afghanistan, let's apply half the savings to pay down our debt and use the rest for some nation-building right here at home.

It's time for a new economic patriotism rooted in the belief that growing our economy begins with a strong, thriving middle class. Read my plan. Compare it to Governor Romney's and decide for yourself. Thanks.

Mitt Romney — Republican Candidate for President

5 Point Plan for a Stronger Middle Class

The past three and a half years have been the hardest on the middle class since the Great Depression. Too many Americans are living paycheck to paycheck and struggling to find work. This election is about giving middle-class Americans a fair shot. On Day One, I will begin turning this economy around with a plan for a stronger middle class. My plan will deliver more jobs and more take-home pay by focusing on:

Increase access to domestic energy resources

Streamline permitting for exploration and development

Eliminate regulations destroying the coal industry

Approve the Keystone XL pipeline

Give every family access to a great school and quality teachers

Provide access to affordable and effective higher education options

Focus job training programs on building valuable skills that align with opportunities

Attract and retain the best and the brightest from around the world

Curtail the unfair trade practices of countries like China

Open new markets for American goods and services

Build stronger economic ties in Latin America

Create a Reagan Economic Zone to strengthen free enterprise around the world

Immediately reduce non-security discretionary spending by 5%

Cap federal spending below 20% of the economy

Give states responsibility for programs that they can implement more effectively

Consolidate agencies and align compensation of federal workers with their private-sector counterparts

Reduce taxes on job creation through individual and corporate tax reform

Stop the increases in regulation that are tangling job creators in red tape

Protect workers and businesses from strong-arm labor union tactics

Replace Obamacare with real health care reform that controls cost and improves care

My comprehensive plan will create 12 million new jobs and grow the economy by 4% per year on average. I am running for president because I know that my policies and vision will help strengthen the middle class, lift people from poverty, and create sustained economic prosperity.