CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In a week when the news cycle was dominated by the president’s remarks on gay marriage and what Mitt Romney did or didn’t do in high school, the GOP candidate tried here today to turn his focus back to the economy.
“Right now we’re finding people across the country that are experiencing some hard times and I think one of the reasons is that we have a president who has installed some of the old liberal policies from the past and they didn’t work then and sure as heck are not working now and they won’t work in the future,” said Romney, speaking on the floor of Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Company, a manufacturer that has not laid off a worker for more than 30 years, according to the CEO.
“You know there used to be like 6,000 places like this across the country, foundries, the last decade or so that’s been cut by about two-thirds,” Romney said. “You know you need to have places like that if you’re going to be able to build jet aircraft and tanks and build the kind of products we need. But America’s faced a tough competition from overseas and we’ve had economic policies that in some cases haven’t worked for the American people. But I want to salute this company on its commitment to high wages, to no lay-offs and to great success.”
Earlier this week, President Obama announced that he now supports same-sex marriage. Romney said again that he does not, a distinction between the two politicians that the former governor has yet to highlight on the stump. Some pollsters have suggested that the president’s announcement could actually give Romney a boost in swing states such a Virginia and North Carolina, where older, rural voters are opposed to same-sex marriage.
North Carolina voters on Tuesday passed a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and same-sex unions.
Romney’s economy-focused event is not new for the candidate, but also comes the day before he is set to give the commencement address at Liberty University, the evangelical Christian school where several politicians have visited as a way to connect with the conservative core of their party. In excerpts from his speech released by his campaign, Romney appears to plan to talk about the importance of the students’ “talent” and “energy.”
“America needs your talent and your energy, all the more now that our country’s in a tough spot. For you and so many young Americans, our current troubles can be discouraging,” Romney will say. “You are ready for jobs that were supposed to be ready for you. Millions wait on the day when there are jobs for everyone willing to work, and opportunities to match your hopes and your goals. But don’t lose heart, because that day is coming.”
Also not mentioned during the event here today was any reference to his behavior in high school, which was brought to the forefront in an Washington Post article that detailed alleged bullying by the candidate that Romney himself has since apologized for, explaining that he does not remember the incidents noted in the piece.
Romney passed on a chance to comment on the JPMorgan Chase, which announced a $2 billion trading loss in the past six weeks. Instead, campaign spokesman Rick Gorka offered a statement on behalf of the candidate: “JP Morgan’s reported $2 billion trading loss demonstrates the importance of oversight and transparency in the derivatives market, something Gov. Romney has called for in the past. JP Morgan’s investors, not taxpayers, will incur any losses from this hedging trade gone bad. As president, Gov. Romney will push for common-sense regulation that gives regulators tools to do their jobs, and that gives investors more clarity.”