CHANTILLY, Va. - Mitt Romney kicked off his Virginia campaign here today, appearing for the first time in the battleground state since becoming the presumptive GOP nominee last month, renewing his focus on women and the economy while vowing to do everything the president has not.
"My vision for America is very different than this president's vision," said Romney, who spoke on the floor of Exhibit Edge, a female-run company that specializes in making signage for trade shows.
"What he's done over the last three and a half years is install a series of policies that have made it back-breaking for many small businesses," said Romney. "And made it harder for our economy to reboot and put people back to work. What I would do, people ask me what would you to get the economy going and I say, well look at what the president's done, and do the opposite."
Romney said he would "take advantage of the extraordinary energy resources" in the country, keeping resources in the U.S. rather than sending them overseas, and said he would be against further government regulation, saying, "You can't add new regulation unless you take out equal land opposite regulation."
Romney, who last month appeared at several female-run corporations as his campaign trying to highlight how women have suffered under the Obama administration and citing a much-disputed statistic that more than 92 percent of those how have lost jobs under this administration are women, had spent the past few days on the campaign trail focusing on the killing of Osama bin Laden. Critics argue that the 92 percent figure used by the Romney campaign only takes data from the time when Obama had taken office, not allowing for the fact that the recession, which largely effected men at its onset, occurred before the president took office.
But today, it was back to the issue of women voters, albeit without the 92 percent figure, Romney introduced by his wife Ann as he stood in front of a group of women during his remarks.
"It's wonderful to see that there was this extraordinary woman that runs this business," said Mrs. Romney, of Exhibit Edge's CEO Bev Gray.
"It's a great country, and it is exciting to see what women can do," she said, as the crowd roared. "Yes! We know!"
"We know what women can do. And how wonderful is the world, and how women actually do make the world go round," she added.
Lis Smith, an Obama campaign spokeswoman, said in a statement following Romney's event that "Mitt Romney continues to double down on his 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."
"Just as troubling is the fact that he refuses to reveal what cuts he would make to pay for his $5 trillion tax plan or what he would put in place of the Wall Street reform that he wants to repeal," said Smith. "The American people face a very clear choice between President Obama's commitment to building an economy where hard work and responsibility are rewarded and Mitt Romney's support for the failed policies that created the economic crisis."