“And the president believes, as he’s made clear, that a president’s responsibility is not just to those who win, but . . . for example, in a company where there have been layoffs or a company that’s gone bankrupt, that we have to make sure that those folks have the means to find other employment.”
Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt sought to return to the attack against Romney and his time as “a corporate buyout specialist.”
“He has claimed time and again that his goal was job creation, but the workers who lost their jobs when he profited off of bankrupting companies and outsourcing know that wasn’t the case,” LaBolt said in a statement.
On Tuesday, Romney began what aides described as a series of symbolic campaign stops across the West orchestrated to amplify the new message from his Boston headquarters.
At his first stop, in a remote Colorado coal-mining town, there seemed to be a disconnect between Romney’s more generic economic message and the sharp shots his aides were firing.
“Some of these liberals say they like a strong economy, but then they act like they don’t like business, and the economy is nothing but the collection of all of our businesses together,” Romney said. “I want our government to support small business, middle-size business, big business. I want jobs. I want government that is an ally of business, not an enemy of business,” he added.
Rallying about 1,000 people in Craig, Colo., where supporters wore baseball caps that said “Coal=Jobs” and workers at a nearby mine were given the morning off to hear him speak, Romney said Obama had failed with the 2009 stimulus and other measures to deliver on his promises of a new “green economy.”
“He said he was going to create some 5 million green-energy jobs,” Romney said. “Have you seen those around here anywhere?”
Yet he was confronted with signs of economic renewal. Local officials told reporters that Craig has rebounded from the recession and that the energy industry there is strong.
“Now [Obama’s] campaign these days is trying to find a twig to hang onto, some little excuse that they grab and say, ‘Well, things are getting a little better, aren’t they?’ ” Romney said.
“And the answer is, yes, things are getting a little better in a lot of places in this country. But it’s not thanks to his policies. It’s in spite of his policies.”
Overshadowed by Trump
A few hours later, when Romney landed in Las Vegas for his next campaign stop, he was overshadowed by Trump — literally. As Romney stepped off his plane, his backdrop was Trump’s black Boeing 757, bearing the tycoon’s name in bold letters.
The real estate executive and reality TV star spent the day trumpeting the discredited “birther” movement, saying in a series of TV interviews that he doubts Obama’s birth certificate stating he was born in Hawaii.
Romney did not personally condemn Trump, which prompted Stephanie Cutter, Obama’s deputy campaign manager, to issue a tough statement. Calling Trump a “charlatan,” she said that Romney’s “refusal to condemn his disgraceful conspiracy theories demonstrates his complete lack of moral leadership.”
In introducing Romney at the evening fundraiser, Trump made no mention of the birther controversy, instead saying that the candidate “will carry us to victory.”
Romney, with Trump at his side at Trump’s namesake hotel, acknowledged the milestone he reached Tuesday night.
“I know the road to 1,144 was long and hard, but I also know the road to 11/06, Nov. 6, is also going to be long, it’s going to be hard,” he said of the fall election. “It’s going to be worth it because we’re going to take back the White House and get America right.”
Rucker reported from Washington.