Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. (Matt Rourke/Associated Press)

“He has failed to put Americans back to work,” Romney told an enthusiastic crowd of a couple hundred. “This president, I don’t think, understands how the economy works. I think he believes in something called crony capitalism.”


Romney did not mention the new jobs numbers. According to the Labor Department, the economy added a net 200,000 jobs last month, and the unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent, the lowest since February 2009. But he noted that unemployment went above 8 percent under Obama and “hasn’t been back since.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) spent a second day on the trail with Romney. In Myrtle Beach, McCain spent more time on strategy than he did in Charleston, saying, “He’s going to do well in New Hampshire, not as well as the polling. It’s gonna close up. But he’s going win in New Hampshire and it’s going to come down, my friends, as it always does, to South Carolina, and whoever gets out their vote is going to win ... if Mitt Romney wins here he will be the next president of the United States. South Carolina, it’s up to you, its up to you.”

McCain encouraged everyone to call their friends and “get organized.”

As in Charleston, Romney’s 2008 rival briefly confused the candidate with someone else, saying, “Earmarks are a gateway to corruption, and I can tell you that neither Mitt Romney nor [former Pennsylvania senator] Rick Santorum share that view.” He corrected himself — McCain had meant to criticize former House speaker Newt Gingrich.