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Republicans in Charlotte pounce on Obama's 'incomplete' grade


CHARLOTTE, NC -- Republicans gathered here to counter the Democratic National Convention seized Tuesday on President Barack Obama's self-grade of "incomplete" after his first term.

Picking up on the grade the president gave himself with a Colorado television affiliate, a series of Republicans pounced during a press conference at at the Nascar Hall of Fame, where Republicans have set up camp during the DNC.

"I have a 10-year-old and a 14-year-old. I know if on their report card they came home with an incomplete that means they failed," said South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.

The Romney campaign, backed by the RNC, is holding its own counter-convention in Charlotte this week, primarily challenging the president's record on the economy. Andrea Saul discusses.

When asked to grade his time in the Oval Office, the president told a local Colorado television station on Monday: "You know I would say incomplete ... but what I would say is the steps that we have taken in saving the auto industry, in making sure that college is more affordable and investing in clean energy and science and technology and research, those are all the things that we are going to need to grow over the long term."

Former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Rep. Tim Scott and former Deputy Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration Jovita Carranza also spoke at the press conference and all used it as an opportunity to slam the president's self assessment.

"When the president was asked what grade he would give himself, he obviously had a quick look at his report card and saw a big 'I' on it.  He thought the 'I' was for incomplete. The 'I' was for incompetent," said Sununu.

And tea party favorite Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC) was able to draw on some personal experience when giving his interpretation of the president's answer. 

"I understand an incomplete is a way to avoid a failing grade. As a freshman in high school, I flunked out," he said. "When you're in that situation you really want something that looks like an incomplete grade, but unfortunately what you get from the people who are actually grading you is a failed grade.  Our president was asked the question: Are we better off? It's a failed grade."

NBC's Savannah Guthrie and Meet The Press moderator David Gregory join Brian Williams to discuss this week's events at the Democratic National Convention.

Haley also addressed women's issues just hours before Democrats are set to kick off their convention. One of Tuesday night's most-watched speakers will be Michele Obama, who is expected to stress her husband's humble upbringing. The well-liked first lady has been one of the Obama campaign's strongest assets in appealing to women voters.

As Planned Parenthood held a rally just a block away, Haley attempted to downplay the notion that abortion rights issues have alienated women from the Republican party.

"Let me tell you about women.  Women are extremely smart.  Woman are extremely right.  We don't only think about contraception. We think about a lot more then contraception. I know pro-life women that are in the Democratic Party. I know pro-choice women that are in the Republican Party.  but I also know that all women care about their budgets, they care about their jobs, they care about the economy," she said.

David Goldman / AP

Democrats gather in Charlotte, N.C., to officially nominate President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden as the party's candidates for the 2012 presidential election.