CHARLOTTE, N.C. - With the site of the Democratic National Convention behind him, Mitt Romney today looked forward to this fall, predicting a win in the crucial state of North Carolina and previewing what he believes President Obama will and will not say to Americans when he accepts the Democratic nomination.
"I know the Democratic National Convention is going to be right behind us," said Romney, pointing to the Bank of America Stadium in downtown Charlotte, as the crowd booed. "I know the president's going to do everything he can to get North Carolina in his column and that will not be enough because we're going to win North Carolina in November."
"I want to give you some thoughts about what's going to happen there, a bit of a preview, if you will," said Romney, who stood at a podium adorned with a sign reading, "Obama Isn't Working." "I predict that you will not hear a reprise of President Obama's speech from four years ago in Denver. They will not be quoting it extensively. But because they won't, I thought I would."
And with that, Romney delivered a speech unlike his standard remarks, listing off the various things Obama said in 2008 and at times even reading word for word portions of Obama's speech.
"At that time the president said, and I quote, 'Democrats have a different measure of what constitutes progress,' and then he went on to list specifically the things that Democrats feel constitute progress," said Romney. "He said you measure progress by, quote, 'How many people can find a job that pays the mortgage.'"
"Now, what you won't hear at that convention is that for the last 38 months, unemployment has been above 8 percent, that we've had 24 million Americans that are out of work, stopped looking for work, or underemployed," said Romney. "You won't hear that since he gave that speech and became president that there have been 50,000 more job losses here in North Carolina, more than twice as many as would fit in that stadium."
"You will not hear that 400,000 North Carolinians are out of work. You will not hear that 93 percent of the people who lost their jobs during the Obama years have been women," he continued. "Those are things you will not hear, but as I'm the nominee for our party, I hope, I'm going make sure the people of America hear those things loud and clear."
Romney's speech today, dubbed by his campaign as a "prebuttal" to Obama's convention speech still more than four months away, is the first major push from the Romney campaign in the battleground state North Carolina since becoming the presumptive nominee last week.
During the 2008 presidential election, then-Senator Obama successfully flipped the state from red to blue for the first time in more than 30 years, winning 50 percent of the vote, inching out Sen. John McCain's 49 percent.
Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., in a conference call touted by the Obama re-election campaign earlier today, charging Romney as being unclear in his vision for America.
"What we have heard doesn't sound good for a majority of Americans," said Hagan. "As President Obama continues to fight for the middle class, strengthen our economy so that it's built to last, and build on the 25 straight months of private sector job growth we've seen under the president, Mitt Romney will speak in Charlotte today and lay out his plans to return to the same failed policies of the past: tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and corporations paid for with cuts to Medicare, Social Security, education, housing and initiatives to boost our economy for everyone else."
On Thursday, Romney will continue to chase President Obama around the country: The candidate is scheduled to hold an event in Lorain, Ohio, the same city where the president delivered a speech today.
"Our campaign is going to go toe-to-toe and post up against the Obama machine every day to help get the message out that Mitt Romney will be able to deliver what this president could not - and that's a more prosperous America," said Romney spokeswoman Gail Gitcho.