The 15 million jobs deficit since he took over begs to differ.

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama says the central question of the 2012 election is how to restore economic security for the middle class. He says he can’t remember a time when the choices in a presidential election were “so unambiguously clear.”

Obama is sharply criticizing a $3.5 trillion proposal led by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin that was approved by the House last week and has been backed by Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney.

Ryan’s proposal aims to slash the deficit and reduce the size of government. It stands little chance in the Democratic-controlled Senate but represents the GOP’s fiscal priorities.