RENO — Their good-will moment gone, President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney plunged back into their acrimonious political campaign on Monday, Obama doubting Romney’s readiness to be commander in chief, Romney accusing the president’s team of offering ‘‘almost all attack ads.’’
Days after the Colorado movie theater massacre brought reflection and talk of national unity from both camps, the fight was on again.
Foreign affairs made a rare move to the fore of the campaign as Republican Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, prepared for a closely watched trip overseas. Obama, meanwhile, told a military audience that he was the only one in the race with a record, not just words, on international matters as he sought to undercut Romney’s travels before they began.
Both White House contenders are trying to gain the military vote. In the 2008 election, 54 percent of those who said they had served in the military voted for Senator John S. McCain, himself a veteran, to 44 percent for Obama, according to exit polls.
For the first time in modern history, neither candidate has a military background.
Both sides ended what had been a political truce in deference to grieving families and victims of the shooting. More broadly, Obama and Romney returned to raising millions of dollars and taking jabs at each other over jobs, leadership, and security.
Both saw little time to waste in a tight, bruising race — and saw little need to apologize for any tactics.
A positive campaign ‘‘really would be nice,’’ Romney said even as he declared that sentiment over in an interview with CNBC. He blamed Obama for the tenor.
Obama told the Veterans of Foreign Wars that he has kept his promises to end the war in Iraq, wind down the conflict in Afghanistan, and go after Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden wherever he was hiding. The terrorist mastermind was killed in a raid on Obama’s orders.
In every example, Obama poked at Romney without naming him. On Iraq, Obama suggested that Romney would have kept forces in the war zone indefinitely.
Romney was to get his say before the VFW, too, on Tuesday before setting out for England, Israel, and Poland.
Trying to set the expectations for the opponent, Obama campaign officials challenged Romney to offer clear policy ideas during his three-country trip. Romney’s travels will be viewed as a measure of how well he can stand up on the world stage. Obama took an even broader such trip as a candidate in 2008.
Four years later, Obama said Monday: ‘‘We’re leading around the world. There’s more confidence in our leadership. We see it everywhere we go.’’
A Romney spokesman, Ryan Williams, countered that Obama had ‘‘diminished our moral authority’’ in the world.
Still in the shadow of the Colorado shooting rampage, both campaigns weighed how to calibrate their tones.
Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the president was moved by his visits Sunday with survivors and family members of the victims of the July 20 mass shooting outside Denver. Still, she said: ‘‘We’ve got a long way to go here. . . . [Obama] knows that he needs to make sure people know what’s at stake.’’
Michelle Obama, bound for Games, speaks on shooting
WASHINGTON — Michelle Obama says she is excited about leading the US delegation to the London Olympics this week but remains ‘‘heartbroken’’ by the Colorado movie theater shooting.
In a conference call with reporters, she said Americans have ‘‘come together as one family’’ over the shooting. And though she says the trip starting Thursday is a ‘‘dream come true,’’ she’s remembering the people of Aurora, Colo., in her prayers.
While in London, Mrs. Obama will have breakfast with the US Olympic team and attend a reception at Buckingham Palace.