WASHINGTON - Mitt Romney today offered a scathing preview of the speech President Obama is set to deliver Thursday in Ohio, warning a group of business leaders here that while the president will speak "eloquently," "words are cheap."
Romney added that he expects the president to "change course" after his comment last week that the "private sector is doing fine."
"He said, as you know, just a few days ago that the private sector is doing fine, but the incredulity that came screaming back from the American people, I think, has caused him to rethink that, and I think you're gonna see him change course when he speaks tomorrow, where he will acknowledge that it isn't going so well, and he'll be asking for four more years," said Romney, addressing the Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs leading U.S. companies. His audience was made up of several high-profile CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, including those at the helm of Xerox and Macy's.
"So instead of three years and he's out, he wants four more years," said Romney. "My own view is that he will speak eloquently, but that words are cheap, and that the record of an individual is the basis upon which you determine whether they should continue to hold on to their job. The record is that we have 23 million Americans that are out of work or stopped looking for work or underemployed. That is a compelling and a sad statistic. These are real people."
President Obama is scheduled to speak at the Cuyahoga Community College Metropolitan Campus in Cleveland Thursday just five minutes prior to when Romney himself is set to begin an event in Cincinnati. This is the first time the president and the presumptive GOP candidate will hold public campaign events in the same state on the same day. The President's speech was advised by his campaign as one that will offer remarks on "contrasting visions for our economy." Romney, meanwhile, will be talking about the economy at a metal manufacturer.
"Now I happen to know that if President Obama speaks as he normally will tomorrow, his rhetoric will be soaring and eloquent," Romney told the group, which heard from President Obama back in March. "But I'd suggest to look at the record more than the words. And I think you know what his record shows. I think you'll also see that the policies he would take are very different than the ones that I've described."
Romney went on to describe Obama's record during his presidency as including "the most anti-investment, anti-business, anti-jobs series of policies in modern American history."
"The reason that it has taken so long for this recovery to gain traction and to put people back to work is in large measure because of the policy choices the president made. He is not responsible for whatever improvement we might be seeing," said Romney. "Instead, he's responsible for the fact that it's taken so long to see this recovery and the recovery's been so tepid."
Obama's re-election spokeswoman Lis Smith refuted Romney's claims, saying that the GOP candidate made "dishonest after dishonest claim about the President's record and failed to offer any new ideas of his own on how to improve the economy and strengthen the middle class."