CINCINNATI, Ohio — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney delivered a pointed indictment of the economy under President Obama only moments before the president made his case for another term 250 miles away on a day both vied to dominate the airwaves.
Romney held his own rhetorically against Obama, a master wordsmith on the stump, and succeeded in getting his message out ahead of the president’s, guaranteeing he would get saturation coverage on the cable news shows.
“What he says and what he does are not always the exact same thing,” Romney told a crowd of about 200 people at a manufacturing plant. “And so, if people want to know how his economic policies have worked and how they perform, why, they can talk to their neighbor and ask if things are better.”
Romney briskly ticked off a list of policies that he said have failed to spur a robust recovery, naming the administration’s $787 billion stimulus, its health care bill, and its energy policy — which he said has blocked the development of new supply sources. He noted that Obama has opposed the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry Canadian tar-sands oil to the Gulf Coast.
In an especially punchy line that won him cheers and applause, Romney said, “I can guarantee you, if I’m president, on Day One, we’re going to get the approval for that pipeline from Canada. And if I have to build it myself to get it here, I’ll get that oil into America.”
He also promised to label China as a currency manipulator, which would allow the United States to impose tariffs on the country’s goods, and repeated his promise to repeal the health care policy that he and Republicans derisively call Obamacare.
For the seventh day in a row, Romney upbraided Obama for his remark that the “private sector is doing fine.”
“If you think the president’s right when he said the private sector is doing fine, well then he’s the guy to vote for,” he said. “But when he said that, there was such an outpouring of response from the 23 million Americans out of work or underemployed, that I think today he’s not going to say it again. I think it’s more likely that’s he’s going to say, ‘Give me four more years, even though I didn’t get it done in the first three and a half.’ ”
His remarks were scheduled to start at almost the exact same time as Obama’s in Cleveland, so Romney’s staff pushed up his start time by 15 minutes. The dueling speeches marked the first time Romney and Obama have publically campaigned in the same state on the same day. A Romney aide said the event was not planned as a response to the president's, and noted that the presumptive Republican nominee held a fundraiser in Cincinnati on Wednesday night that had been on the books for weeks.
Romney argued that Obama’s job performance should disqualify him from another term and suggested that the president, like others who don’t provide good service, deserved to be fired — though he did not use that phrase, which has gotten him into trouble before.
“In my experience, in thinking about people who I want to have work for me — whether it’s my doctor or the person that’s going be painting the house — I want to make sure they did a good job the first time. And if they didn’t, I want someone who can do a better job,” Romeny said.
The remarks were similar to a statement he made in New Hampshire in January, saying he liked “being able to fire people” who don’t provide good service. Romney was discussing giving people health care options and allowing them to fire providers who offered poor service.
“I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.… You know if someone doesn't give me a good service that I need, I want to say I’m going to go get someone else to provide that service to me,” Romney said at the time.