WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama's team on Friday ripped into Republican Mitt Romney's big convention speech, complaining it lacked a governing vision and disguised plans to punish the middle class.
Vice President Joe Biden meanwhile launched into a forensic attempt to demolish the credentials of his opposite number in the race, Romney's running mate Paul Ryan, stirring working class voters in vital swing state Ohio.
As dust settled from the Republican National Convention in Florida, the president's team switched their focus to their own nominating jamboree next week, at which Obama must persuade voters he deserves to keep his job.
Biden, relishing the chance to strike back, said vows by Romney and Ryan to restore the promise of America discounted years of Republican deficit spending, unpaid for wars and "ridiculous" tax cuts for the rich.
"Congressman Paul Ryan has voted for every one of these things that caused the catastrophe we inherited," Biden said.
"We know how it ends ... it ends in lost jobs; stagnant wages; equity in your homes being devastated, ... your retirement accounts being eviscerated. It ends in a catastrophe, as it did for the middle class."
Ryan, a lawmaker from midwestern Wisconsin who professes humble origins, and Biden, who wears a working class heritage on his sleeve, will go head-to-head for the support of white blue collar voters right up to November's election.
Senior Obama advisor David Axelrod promised the president would provide the specifics that he said Romney's address on Thursday, packed with personal anecdotes and patriotic platitudes, lacked.
"I think that what people were tuning in hoping to hear were practical solutions to the challenges that we face," Axelrod told MSNBC.
"You know, what they got were some snarky lines about the president, some gauzy reminiscences about the past and some buzzwords for the base."
Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said that while the convention may have succeeded in warming people up personally to the Republican nominee, practical solutions were lacking.
"It was more about tearing down Barack Obama than leaving the American people with the impression of what Mitt Romney's presidency would be," she told CNN ahead of the Democratic convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Obama's campaign also released a web video, assailing Romney for what it said were his plans to add tax burdens to the middle class, further enrich the wealthy with tax cuts and gut state-financed health care for seniors.
"When you learn about the Romney plan ... is it any wonder he doesn't have much to say?" the narrator said, over pictures of a sad looking Romney.
Romney's speech included an appeal to Americans enthralled by Obama's historic election win in 2008 who now felt that his soaring rhetoric was not matched by proficiency in government or successful economic policies.
"Hope and change had a powerful appeal. But tonight I'd ask a simple question: If you felt that excitement when you voted for Barack Obama, shouldn't you feel that way now that he's President Obama?" Romney asked.
Obama, was for appearances sake at least, keeping out of the partisan fray on Friday, heading to Texas to mark the second anniversary of his order to halt combat in Iraq with war veterans and their families.
While the trip was in keeping with his duties as commander-in-chief, the visit has a highly political context for Obama who regards getting troops home from Iraq as a core 2008 campaign promise honored.
On Saturday, Obama will throw himself back onto the campaign trail in earnest, launching a four-day "Road to Charlotte" tour, blitzing battleground states Iowa, Colorado, Ohio and Virginia.
He will make a detour on Monday to inspect damage from Hurricane Isaac and to meet emergency workers in Louisiana.
Romney stole a march on the president Friday, arriving in New Orleans as a guest of Republican governor Bobby Jindal, even though he has no official role in responding to the huge storm, which caused widespread flooding.
The White House said the announcement that Obama would go was in no way related to Romney's stop, saying officials had waited to ensure the president's massive security entourage did not hurt rescue efforts.