Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan differ on abortion

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"As a Republican leader in the House, Paul Ryan worked with Todd Akin to try to narrow the definition of rape and outlaw abortion even for rape victims," Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith said in a statement.

PHOTOS: Paul Ryan campaigns in Virginia

PHOTOS: Paul Ryan campaigns in Virginia 17 Photos
PHOTOS: Paul Ryan campaigns in Virginia

Akin has refused to heed calls to step down - including one from Romney - and now would need a court order to leave the race. He has until Sept. 25 to do so; after that point, he would have no way to remove his name from the ballot.

Ryan, a colleague of Akin's in the House, called the Missouri congressman to urge him to bow out of the Senate race.

Ryan said Wednesday he doesn't have any plans to speak to him about it now that Akin is staying in.

"He's going to run his campaign and we're going to run ours," Ryan said of Akin.

The questions about abortion were overshadowing the GOP ticket's campaign events in Iowa, Virginia and North Carolina Wednesday, as they were seeking to attack President Barack Obama's stands on Medicare and again minimize the differences between Romney and Ryan on that subject.

That comes in a new TV advertisement linking Obama's divisive health care overhaul to cuts in Medicare.

The ad, titled "Nothing's Free," asserts that Obama raided $716 billion from Medicare in order to pay for his health care law.

It's the first ad Romney's campaign has run focusing on health care since the Supreme Court upheld Obama's federal mandate in June Romney has promised to roll back the Medicare spending cuts approved under Obama, while Ryan kept the cuts in his budget proposals.

The campaign did not say where the health care ad would run. Romney was flying Wednesday morning from Texas, where he held campaign fundraisers Tuesday, to Iowa.

During remarks in a key Midwestern state, he planned to focus on the increases in the nation's debt during Obama's term.

Ryan, less than two weeks into his new role as GOP running mate, was campaigning in Virginia and North Carolina and focusing Wednesday on a tax overhaul.

The GOP campaign says Obama's calls for letting George W. Bush-era tax cuts on people earning more than $200,000 a year expire at the end of the year would hurt small businesses because many file as individuals.

Obama, meanwhile, readied for a second straight day of criticism on the GOP ticket's proposals on education, an issue that resonates with middle-class voters.

Obama was campaigning Wednesday in Nevada, one of the states hit hardest by the nation's economic slowdown.

The president planned to meet with teachers at a Las Vegas high school and promote his administration's plans to make higher education more affordable before speaking at a larger event at the school.

Campaigning in Ohio Tuesday, Obama accused Romney of being oblivious to the burdens of paying for college.

The president's campaign sees education as another avenue for linking Romney to Ryan's budget, which calls for $115 billion in cuts to the Education Department. In a new ad released Wednesday, the Obama campaign suggests Ryan's education cuts would lead to larger class sizes.

A couple featured in the ad bemoans the prospect of increased class size and says Romney "cannot relate" to their desire to have the best public education system for their children. The ad is running in Virginia and Ohio.'

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