BOWLING GREEN, OH -- Mitt Romney looked to get back on his economic message and to put President Obama on the defensive today, lashing out at the administration for not convening a meeting of his jobs council in more than six months.
Evan Vucci / AP
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney gestures during a campaign stop on July 18 in Bowling Green, Ohio.
Romney also criticized the president for what he claimed was Obama's attempts to "denigrate and diminish" individual success.
"In the last six months, [Obama] has held 100 fundraisers and guess how many meetings he has had with his jobs council. None. Zero," Romney said. "Zero in the last six months, so it makes it very clear where his priorities are. His priority is not creating jobs for the American people. His priority is trying to keep his own job and that's why he is going to lose it."
The Obama campaign did not refute Romney's claim directly, but said the president has offered a jobs plan which "incorporates ideas from the Jobs Council," a non-partisan group of business leaders whose stated mission is to provide "non-partisan advice to the President on continuing to strengthen the Nation's economy."
The Romney campaign does not divulge it's complete fundraising schedule, making a direct fundraising comparison impossible.
Romney also hammered the president -- for a second-straight day -- over the president's comments Friday in which the president said (in part of a larger argument about the importance of education and infrastructure to the success of business): “If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
"Barack Obama's attempt to denigrate and diminish the achievement of the individual, diminishes us all," Romney said. "We all, of course, recognize the power of all of us working together. We're a united nation. He divides us. He tries to divide America, tear America apart. He tries to diminish those who have been successful in one walk of life or another. It's simply wrong."
Romney also fed the vice-presidential rumor mill today, telling a questioner here that he has not yet made a vice presidential selection, but identifying one key characteristic of his eventual pick.
"I can assure you that even though I have not chosen the person who will be my vice president, that person will be a conservative. They will believe in conservative principles," Romney said in response to the first question at today's town hall.
As is often the case at town hall events like this one, the crowd itself became part of the story today, when one questioner referred to President Obama as a "monster" in her question.
"That’s not a term I would use," Romney told the woman.
Romney also engaged in a bit of audience participation here today, urging business owners to stand up and be applauded for creating jobs, and commenting on signs that dotted the venue here, painted with slogans like "I built my own business."
"These are fun," Romney said, reading from the signs. "‘I created my business, not the government.’ These are fun. These are fun signs here. You guys in back can’t see them. But those who made those signs, thank you for reminding us who it is in America that creates jobs.”
In interviews with attendees here it became apparent that "those who made those signs," were campaign volunteers who passed them out to attendees who identified themselves as business owners when they arrived at the event.
If the signs weren't a reflection of true anger at the president, the voices of some business owners in the audience afterwards were.
"You put a dagger through every businessman's heart when you say what [President Obama] did," said Wayne Michaels, a retired orthodontist who proudly held one of the Romney campaign's signs. "That got my blood boiling."