CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Though the Democratic National Convention is more than four months away, Mitt Romney on Wednesday made a campaign stop directly across the street from the football stadium where President Obama is expected to deliver his acceptance speech for the nomination, and offered a blistering assessment of the president’s first term.
“I want to give you some thoughts about what’s going to happen there -- a bit of a preview, if you will,” Romney said. He predicted that when the president speaks here in early September, he will not reprise his acceptance speech of 2008 because he has not lived up to his promises. Although a rainstorm robbed the former Massachusetts governor of the perfect backdrop, one with the Charlotte stadium squarely behind him, he went through several points from Obama’s speech four years ago.
“He said you measure progress by, ‘how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage,’” Romney said. “Now, what you won’t hear at that convention is that for the last 38 months, unemployment has been above 8 percent, that we’ve had 24 million Americans that are out of work, stopped looking for work, or underemployed.”
Romney ticked off a number of statistics that he says have gotten worse under Obama -- declining home ownership, increased federal debt, rising costs in the Medicare and Social Security programs. “Virtually nothing the president has done -- including his stimulus, which protected the government but did not encourage the private sector -- virtually nothing he has done has made it more likely for people to get jobs,” Romney said.
In a line that got a laugh from the audience, Romney predicted that the president’s reelection committee will have to change some of the visual aspects of his second acceptance speech as well. “One thing I am convinced that you are not going to see at the Democratic Convention -- you are not going to see President Obama standing alongside Greek columns," he said. "He is not going to want to remind anybody of Greece” -- a country deeply in debt.
“With trillion-dollar deficits each of the years he has been in office, with forecasts of huge deficits down the road, this is a president who is putting in peril our economic future,” Romney added.
The backdrop to Obama’s 2008 speech, where several large columns rose behind him, was often described as a Greek temple. In actuality, it was a replica of the colonnade at Chicago's Soldier Field built in honor of Obama's hometown.
Romney's speech was light on specifics of his economic and debt-reduction proposals, and he instead stayed on the attack. “We’ve learned who Barack Obama is and what he’s capable of doing,” he said. “He’s over his head, and he’s swimming in the wrong direction.”
The Republican candidate greeted supporters at the event as he often does, but this time his handshaking was interrupted by four young Hispanic attendees who chanted “Latino voters veto Romney.” They were escorted away by security officials.
Romney is scheduled to travel on Thursday to Ohio, where he will offer a rebuttal to remarks made there by the president on Wednesday. His schedule has changed since Rick Santorum dropped out of the race last week, with a renewed focus on the president and battleground states in the general election.