Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan appeared together for the first time in Ohio here Saturday morning, hitting President Barack Obama for failing to deliver what he promised four years ago and championing their plan to boost small business.
Before a crowd of 5,100 at Village Green Park, Romney said he reread Obama’s 2008 nomination acceptance speech and Obama hasn’t followed through on those plans.
“He said marvelous things — he just hasn’t done them,” Romney said, predicting Obama will likely give another uplifting speech at the Democratic National Convention in September.
“He will have all sorts of promises to offer again. He’ll tell you how much better things are now,” Romney said. “This time we have more than just the words, we have the record. and we understand the big gap there is between what he promises and what he hopes, what he actually delivers.”
The pair’s stop in affluent Delaware County was their last before heading to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, where Romney is expected to receive his party’s nomination for president. Neither Romney nor Ryan mentioned Medicare, a hot topic that emerged after Ryan joined the ticket.
Obama has an edge over Romney on Medicare, according to two Ohio polls released last week. But both polls indicated the economy is still the No. 1 issue among Ohioans.
Romney and Ryan instead returned to the economy, focusing instead on business and the oft-used, out-of-context Obama quote: “You didn’t build that.”
Romney’s own success in the private sector has come under fire from Democrats charging Romney’s finances make him “out-of-touch” with middle-class Americans. Romney said business owners and entrepreneurs should not be bashed for turning a profit.
“We celebrate them, we acknowledge their achievement, we love their success,” Romney said. “We don’t attack success in America and we will never apologize for success abroad.”
Romney said this view contrasts with that of President Obama, who Romney said “fundamentally believes that government is the source of our great strength and economic vitality.”
Jessica Kershaw, Ohio spokeswoman for the Obama campaign, said the Romney-Ryan plan is wrong for Ohio’s women, seniors and future. Kershaw linked the Powell stop to Missouri Rep. Todd Akin, who also stopped in Powell last week to record an apology for his comments on “legitimate rape.”
“This top-down, backward-looking economic vision that rewards the wealthy at the expense of the middle class is wrong for Ohio,” Kershaw said.
Earlier in the week, Obama traveled to Columbus to shift the debate to education and student debt. On Saturday, Romney listed education as one of the five ways he’ll get the economy back on track, along with energy independence, enhancing trade, cutting federal spending and championing small business.
Romney said Obama can’t enact change because he takes too many campaign contributions from teachers’ unions.
“If we are president and vice president, we will put the teachers and the kids first, and the union behind,” Romney said.
In the context of supporting small business, Romney pitched women entrepreneurs twice during his nearly 20-minute speech.
“If we become president and vice president, we want to speak to you, we want to help you,” Romney said. “Women are more likely than men to start business in this country — women need our help.”
Romney referred to a group of about 40 people protesting outside the event as a “Greek chorus.” He linked the future of the U.S. to the European debt crisis, saying, “Everything (the Democrats) do reminds us of Greece, and we’re not going to go there.”