President Barack Obama challenged reporters on Thursday to check out his analysis of the Republicans' plan for taxes, the budget and the deficit - a plan sketched so far only in vague terms.
The president said his rival Mitt Romney and other Republicans want to keep the tax cuts approved under President George W. Bush, "add another $5 trillion in tax cuts on top of that," cut $1 trillion from the budget, and reduce the deficit.
Obama's main point was that, in his view, the Republicans' math does not add up - that they could not reduce the deficit and cut taxes without gutting core federal spending and ending middle-class tax breaks for things like mortgage interest.
"Now, I'm looking forward to the press following up and making sure that, you know, I'm not exaggerating," Obama said in a campaign speech in Cleveland, Ohio, a key battleground state.
He said Republicans had not specified spending cuts, but he warned that if cuts on the scale he described were made, then "10 million college students would lose an average of $1,000 each in financial aid; 200,000 children would lose the chance to get an early education in the Head Start program."
Fewer medical and scientific research grants would be available, millions would not benefit from the healthcare reform law Republicans want to repeal, and there would be major changes to coverage for millions on Medicaid and Medicare, he said.
"The cuts to this part of the budget would be deeper than anything we've ever seen in modern times," Obama said. "This is not spin ... This is what they're presenting as their plan."
Except that Romney and the Republicans have not laid out a complete, comprehensive plan for what they want to do on taxes, the budget and the deficit.
Instead, they have made some general proposals, avoiding details on the hard parts, and preserving room for political maneuver, while largely focusing on attacking Obama in their campaign to unseat him in the November 6 elections.