Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney charged that the nation's lagging economy is the product of President Obama's ignorance of business in a speech today in North Huntingdon.
Courting votes in Westmoreland County, the Republican presumptive presidential nominee drew repeated, enthusiastic cheers as he portrayed Mr. Obama as an enemy of success, a big government apologist with no appreciation of the ingredients for growth.
Mr. Romney said that the president is wondering why his initiatives have not produced more progress on unemployment.
Romney visit draws protest
Braddock Mayor John Fetterman and other President Obama supporters rallied against presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who made a campaign stop today in Pittsburgh. (Video by Carl Romanos; 7/17/2012)
Romney attacks president's record on economy
Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney attacked President Obama's economic policies in a speech before supporters at Horizontal Wireline Services, a Westmoreland County business. (Video by Carl Romanos; edited by Brian Batko; 7/17/2012)
"I have the answer for him: liberal policies don't make good jobs," Mr. Romney said before heading to Pittsburgh for a fund-raising event at the Duquesne Club.
Speaking to hundreds of fired-up supporters in a just barely air-conditioned building housing Horizontal Wireline Services, a firm that has thrived with the burgeoning natural gas industry in recent years, Mr. Romney repeated his criticisms of the administration's stimulus initiative and the claim that some of its proceeds were steered to Mr. Obama's political supporters.
"I'm ashamed to say that were seeing our president hand out money to the businesses of campaign contributors," he said.
In an oblique reference to the Obama's campaign's relentless criticism of his role and business practices as chief executive officer of Bain Capital, he stirred laughter from the partisan crowd as he said, "The president is is looking around for someone to blame, and recently I've become the reason."
Mr. Romney seized on a statement Mr. Obama made on the stump in Virginia last week, when he suggested that business success depends on a various kinds of community and government support.
"There was a great teacher somewhere in your life," Mr. Obama said in his speech in Roanoke. "Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business -- you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn't get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet."
Today, Mr. Romney seized on the "you didn't build that" portion.
Mr. Romney said the statement denigrated the initiative and creativity of individual businessmen, charging that it was the equivalent of saying that Steve Jobs didn't build Apple or that Henry Ford didn't build his auto company.
"It's insulting to every entrepreneur, every innovator," Mr. Romney said, calling the statement, "startling and revealing."
"President Obama attacks success and therefore, under President Obama, we have less success, and I will change that," Mr. Romney said.
He asked his audience: "Do we believe in an America that's great because of government, or do we believe that government is great because of free people?"
James O'Toole: firstname.lastname@example.org. First Published July 17, 2012 7:00 PM