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Romney uses GDP downgrade to hammer Obama on economy

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Republican U.S. presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney speaks during a Veterans for Romney event at American Legion Post 176 September 27, 2012 in Springfield, Virginia.


Updated 3:05 p.m. - SPRINGFIELD, VA -- Mitt Romney seized upon a report revising economic growth in the second quarter downward as his latest piece of evidence in his ongoing effort to cast President Barack Obama's policies as ineffective at boosting the economy.

“We have to have a strong economy. Right now, Russia’s economy is growing at about 4 percent per year. That’s their GDP growth. Ours was just revised last quarter down to 1.3 percent per year -- about a quarter or a fifth the rate of Russia’s," Romney said. "This is a real challenge for us. And this is not just one quarter. This has been going on now for years."

"Our economy needs to be reinvigorated," Romney continued before an audience of some 300 veterans at an American Legion hall in suburban Washington. "And the president has laid out his plan. It’s a continuation of the old plan. We can’t afford four more years of the last four years, all right?”

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Speaking before an audience that is especially attentive to military spending for its impact on the local economy, Romney highlighted the danger posed by planned defense cuts called for in the bipartisan budget deal.

"The White House proposed the sequestration, a kind of gun-to-your-head opportunity, which is if Congress couldn't get the job done properly and the president couldn't lead them, why they would make devastating cuts to our military," Romney said. "The impact will be immediate, and significant right here in Virginia: 136,000 jobs will be lost in Virginia as a result of this move."

For the second day in a row, Romney and Obama squared off in the same critical swing state. Yesterday, they held dueling rallies in Ohio, and as Romney wrapped up his remarks, the president was preparing for his own rally downstate.

The Republican nominee, trailing in most polls of Old Dominion voters, kept his message focused on the few areas where he retains strength, particularly on dealing with the national debt and the deficit, on which he hammered the president again today, while attempting to present the complex problems posed by a burgeoning debt in understandable prose.

"[President Obama's] plan also calls for trillion dollar deficits," Romney said. "Recognize: trillion dollar deficits. That debt is owned by somebody. Someone holds that. That puts America in a position of economic risk, fiscal risk."

For the third straight day, both Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama will be campaigning in the same state. The Daily Rundown's Chuck Todd reports.

"Even with the interest rates real low, we spend more on interest as taxpayers, paying the government debt than we spend on housing agriculture, education and transportation combined," Romney continued. "Its huge! And its going to get a lot bigger. Particularly if every year we add another trillion dollars to the deficit. "

Obama's campaign, which today began airing a new advertisement highlighting Romney's surreptitiously recorded comments at a fundraiser about 47 percent of Americans he said did not pay taxes and thought of themselves as "victims," issued a statement responding to Romney's remarks which seemed designed to draw attention back to the damaging video.

“Mitt Romney would like Virginians to forget how he disdainfully wrote off half of all Americans, including veterans and active duty members, at a fundraiser with high-dollar donors," said spokeswoman Lis Smith. "[Romney's] policies would be disastrous for America’s military, military families, and veterans and we can’t afford them.”

“On the day we learned that American businesses have created 5.1 million private sector jobs over the last 30 months – 453,000 more than originally thought – Mitt Romney’s desperately cherry picking the data to fit his false narrative," added Obama spokesman Danny Kanner. "The truth is that he opposed the President’s jobs proposal, which could still create as many as 1 million additional jobs, and instead proposed plans that independent economists say would slow the recovery and actually cost us nearly a million jobs."