CINCINNATI -- It is no small task for Mitt Romney to find new ways to attack President Obama’s record on the economy – day after day, week after week, month after month.
But when he went at Obama again on Thursday, he was at least guaranteed to get more attention than usual, thanks to Obama’s almost simultaneous campaign stop on the opposite side of Ohio, a state better placed than any to decide the November election.
“Now you may have heard that President Obama is on the other side of the state, and he’s going to be delivering a speech on the economy,” Romney told invited supporters on the factory floor of a manufacturing equipment maker.
“He’s doing that because he hasn’t delivered a recovery for the economy. And he’s going to be a person of eloquence as he describes his plans for making the economy better. But don’t forget, he’s been president for three and a half years. And talk is cheap.”
To maximize live TV coverage, Romney started speaking 15 minutes ahead of schedule and finished just in time to avoid overlapping Obama’s remarks. Romney’s setting was a tangle of forklifts, crates, industrial fans and other heavy machinery, along with a “Putting Jobs First” banner.
He renewed his vows to expand oil, coal and gas exploration, repeal Obama’s healthcare law and cut the deficit, and he pounded the president for a surge in national debt.
“You want four more years of that?” Romney asked. “You call that forward? That’s forward over a cliff. That’s forward on the way to Greece.”
Romney’s remarks came as Ohio voters were being bombarded by campaign TV commercials on the theme of public debt. In Cincinnati this week, stations have been running, among others, a Romney super PAC ad saying Obama was borrowing from China to cover his reckless spending, and an Obama campaign ad saying Massachusetts was No. 1 in state debt when Romney was governor.
On Thursday, the Romney campaign released a new TV ad mocking Obama for saying last week that the private sector was “doing fine.”
Romney ridiculed the president for that comment again at the Cincinnati factory, saying he did not expect Obama to say that again. More likely, he said, Obama will tell voters, “Give me four more years, even though I didn’t get it done in the first three and a half.”
“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 to be painting the house, I want to make sure they did a good job the first time,” Romney said. “And if they didn’t, I want someone who can get do a better job.”
In Ohio, the economic recovery has been less tepid than in the nation as a whole, but the state still has fewer jobs than it did when Obama took office. Ohio’s unemployment rate has dropped from its 10.6% peak three years ago to 7.4%. The national unemployment rate is 8.2%.
Romney’s venue was Seilkop Industries. A few hours before Romney’s arrival, the president’s reelection campaign notified the news media that Seilkop, which employs 125 people, has received $59,100 in loan guarantees from the U.S. Small Business Administration during Obama’s term as president.
“Romney’s economic plan won’t create one new job, reduce the deficit by a dime, or help America’s manufacturers like Seilkop expand and grow,” said Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith.
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