Mitt Romney came to a small warehouse in Northern Virginia on Wednesday and ticked through a litany of accusations about President Obama – that he doesn’t like businesses very much and is choking them with a medley of burdensome regulations and high taxes.
“What the president has done – and I think unknowingly, never having spent any time in the private sector himself… was one item after another [making] it harder for small businesses to thrive and to grow and to start up,” the presumptive Republican presidential nominee said.
Then, for the second time this week, Romney invoked former Democratic president Jimmy Carter, saying Obama has “the most anti-small business administration I’ve seen probably since Carter. Who would’ve thought we’d look back at the Carter years as the good ole days?”
Beginning a two-day campaign swing in Virginia, a critical general election battleground where Obama is planning a large rally on Saturday, Romney kept his message focused squarely on the economy.
But he made a particular appeal to women. He spoke at a woman-owned business, Exhibit Edge, a Chantilly-based company that builds trade show exhibits. And Romney’s wife, Ann, introduced him and remarked, “we know what women can do.”
The former Massachusetts governor stood in front of a row of women small business owners and said Obama-era regulations were straining their companies as well as community banks.
“What he’s done over the last three and a half years is install a series of policies that have made it backbreaking for many small businesses,” Romney said. “People ask me, what would you do to get the economy going? I say, well, look at what the president’s done, and do the opposite.”
Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith said Romney was proposing a “familiar economic scheme: more budget-busting tax cuts for the wealthy and letting Wall Street write its own rules – the same formula that benefited a few, but crashed our economy and punished the middle class.”
But Romney argued that with 23 million Americans out of work or underemployed, the blame for the sputtering economy falls squarely on Obama and his policies.
“That means households that can’t be formed,” Romney said. “It means people who thought they’d be retiring and they can’t retire, they still have to work. It means grandparents who don’t have enough money to buy gasoline to go see the grandkids anymore.
“It’s vacations no longer planned, it’s movies not attended, it’s meals that perhaps weren’t as fancy as they were a few years ago,” Romney continued. “Americans are tired of being tired, of this economy and of this president, and they want real change.”