Mitt Romney urged business executives to ignore President Barack Obama’s appeals for another four years and focus on the United States' high rates of joblessness, saying Obama’s rhetoric in an economic speech he will deliver tomorrow shouldn’t mask a failed record.
“My own view is that he will speak eloquently, but that words are cheap, and that the record of an individual is the basis upon which you determine whether they should continue to hold on to their job,” Romney told about 100 executives at the Business Roundtable quarterly meeting in Washington. “We have 23 million Americans that are out of work, or stopped looking for work or underemployed. That is a compelling and sad statistic. These are real people.”
Both candidates plan to give dueling speeches in Ohio tomorrow. The two addresses mark the first time both men are holding events at the same time in the same state, offering voters in the pivotal swing state the first chance to compare their campaign messages in real time.
Romney will discuss the agenda he would pursue in the first 100 days of his administration, said senior campaign strategist Russ Schriefer. His plans include expanding the Keystone pipeline, cutting regulations and government spending, overhauling the tax code and granting each state a wavier to allow states to opt-out of the federal healthcare law.
“I understand he’s coming to Ohio tomorrow and he has a new pitch that he needs four more years,” Romney told campaign donors gathered for a fundraiser in the art deco ballroom of the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza. “Three years and out.”
Introducing Romney at the fundraiser, S. Craig Lindner, head of the American Financial Group, predicted an economic resurgence if Romney wins the White House.
“When Mitt Romney is elected president and confidence in the future of our great country is restored I believe we’ll see a surge of investing and hiring,” he told a donors who paid up to $50,000 to have dinner with Romney.
Obama will give what Jay Carney, his spokesman, described as “a campaign speech” on the economy tomorrow at Cuyahoga Community College Metropolitan Campus in Cleveland.
The president, in spelling out two contrasting visions for the U.S. economy five months before the November elections, will refer to “Romney Economics” as “familiar and troubling” policies that would mean “more budget-busting tax cuts for the wealthy; fewer rules for Wall Street -- the same formula that benefitted a few, but that crashed our economy and devastated the middle class,” according to a White House statement.
Romney today “made dishonest after dishonest claim about the president’s record and failed to offer any new ideas of his own,” Lis Smith, an Obama campaign spokeswoman, said in a separate statement.
Romney, 65, argued that Obama’s agenda has been hostile to business, heaping burdensome and costly regulations on industry that have led to “a tepid and unfortunate recovery” while advocating tax increases that would further hurt companies’ bottom lines. He also criticized Obama for failing to address high deficits and a coming federal entitlement crisis that complicate businesses’ ability to plan for the future.
As the executives sipped iced tea and dined on lunches of salmon, couscous, salad and fruit tarts, Romney also reprised a June 8 comment from Obama that he and other Republicans are using as a cudgel against the president to argue that he is out of touch with the nation’s economic woes.
“He said, as you know, just a few days ago that the private sector is doing fine, but the incredulity that came screaming back from the American people has caused him, I think, to rethink that,” Romney said. “You’re going to see him change course when he speaks tomorrow, where he will acknowledge that it isn’t going so well, and he’ll be asking for four more years.”
Romney, a former private-equity executive who co-founded the Boston-based firm Bain Capital LLC, said his view of and approach toward business would be a stark contrast with Obama’s.
Aside from securing the nation, Romney said, the government’s main responsibility “as it relates to the economy is to make America the most attractive place in the world for entrepreneurs and innovators, investors, job creators.”
“Government has to be the partner, the friend, the ally, the supporter of enterprise, not the enemy,” he said. “Too often, you find yourself facing a government that looks at you like you’re the bad guys, and if you’re hiring people, and employing people and paying taxes, you’re the good guys. I want you to do well.”
Vowing to repeal Obama’s healthcare law as well as the Dodd-Frank financial-regulation measure, Romney also said lawmakers had taken advantage of the 2008 financial meltdown to enact their longstanding goals of placing more restrictions on banks and other businesses.
“The legislators and particularly the staff used the economic crisis to do all the things they’d always wanted to do, and to be able to overreach and try and put their reins on all sorts of enterprises,” he said.
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