CINCINNATI -- Speaking immediately before President Obama's economic speech in another corner of Ohio, Mitt Romney said Thursday that "talk is cheap," and that the president's rhetoric shouldn't earn him another term.
"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. He’s doing that because he hasn’t delivered a recovery for the economy," Romney said. "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. Action speaks very loud. And if you want to see the results of his economic policies, look around Ohio, look around the country, you’ll see a lot of people are hurting."
Mitt Romney, the GOP presumptive presidential candidate, attacks President Obama on what he says has been three and a half years of inaction on jobs and the economy.
The speech served effectively as a "pre-buttal" to Obama's own remarks. (Romney moved up the timing of his speech so as to avoide an overlap.) And it also offered a preview of the looming battle between the two candidates over the election's top issue -- the economy -- in a swing-state that's been ravaged by the fallout of the recession.
Ohio's unemployment rate stood at 7.4 percent through the end of April (the last month for which data is available), lower than the national rate of 8.2 percent. But Romney slammed Obama for the weak national economy as well, urging voters to hold the president accountable for his management of the economy.
"Look what’s happened across this country. If you think things are going swimmingly, 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," Romney 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 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.'"
Romney's speech to roughly 200 supporters gathered on a factory floor deviated little from his traditional stump speech, but took on an extra air of importance as today marked the first time both parties' nominees have campaigned in the same state on the same day.
Both campaigns consider the Buckeye state to be essential to their electoral success in November, with Romney strategist Russ Schriefer telling reporters yesterday that "There is no state that is more important than Ohio," and praising the state's controversial Republican Gov. John Kasich.
Today, Romney tweaked his economic message ever so slightly to appeal to the Rust Belt state, where manufacturing plays a significant role in the economy and where its revitalization might be acutely felt. The presumptive GOP nominee took aim at China, vowing as he has done in the past to label the country a currency manipulator on day one of his administration, and praising free trade, which Romney said he discussed with local business leaders before the speech.
"Trade is good. Of the business people I met with just a few minutes ago a number of them said that their business relies pretty substantially on selling products to other nations. It’s good for us to be able to trade with other nations. It creates jobs here," Romney said.