LORIAN, Ohio – Standing on the floor of a shutdown factory visited during the 2008 campaign by then-senator Barack Obama, Mitt Romney suggested that workers would have returned by now if it weren’t for the President’s economic policies.
“So, as you can tell, we are in a factory,” said Romney, speaking at the National Gypsum Company in Lorain, with a massive sign that read “Obama Isn’t Working” hanging behind him. “This factory is empty.”
“It was closed in 2008 at the beginning of the economic downturn,” he said. “Had the President’s economic plans worked it would have been open by now. But it is still empty. And it underscores the failure of this President’s policies with regards to getting the economy going again.”
Pointing to the president’s record, Romney said Obama’s record “is not about statistics” but is a record “about human beings.”
“This factory used to have people working in it, said Romney.” These people no longer working here have families. They used to be able to shop, go out to restaurants, and go to movies. They aren’t able to do those things like they did before, so those other enterprises had to lay off people.
Obama visited the gypsum manufacturer in January 2008, delivering a speech about creating jobs in the U.S. Just a few weeks later, the factory closed — when President George W. Bush was still in office – laying off 58 employees, according to local reports.
There was no mention of the factory closing under Bush’s administration by Romney, and when asked about the timing of the closure senior advisor Eric Fehrnstrom suggested that the struggles of the factory were not Bush’s fault.
“Then candidate [Obama] came in 2008 and what he promised was a recovery that would get this factory back on its feet,” said Fehrnstrom. “Here we are three and a half years later and it’s still closed.”
“The fact that it struggled through the last three years is not the fault of Barack Obama’s predecessor, it’s the fault of this administration and the failure of their policies to really get this economy going again,” he said.
Fehrnstrom said that Obama “cannot take any credit for any success on the jobs front.”
“None at all,” he added.
Romney’s visit to Lorain came just a day after President Obama was in the area to deliver a speech about jobs, part of Romney’s ongoing strategy to bracket Obama’s appearances. Romney on Wednesday spoke in Charlotte, the site of this fall’s Democratic National Convention.
“You know the other day, I guess it was just yesterday, he was in Ohio,” Romney said of Obama today. “And he said this campaign is going to come down to his vision, his vision for America. If you want to know where his vision leads, open your eyes because we have been living it for the last 3 years.”
“It leads to lost jobs, lost homes, lost dreams,” said Romney.
In a statement, Obama’s re-election spokeswoman Lis Smith dubbed Romney’s speech as “deceptive rhetoric.”
“In a speech that he concluded by saying he’d ‘tell the truth,’ Mitt Romney managed not to tell the truth about President Obama’s record and his own failed record in Massachusetts—all while blaming the President for a plant closing that occurred before he took office,” said Smith. “Contrary to Romney’s rhetoric today, under President Obama’s leadership every working American has received a tax cut, fewer new regulations have been approved than under President Bush, and we’ve gone from losing 750,000 jobs a month when he took office to creating over 4 million private sector jobs in the last 25 months.”