-- Mitt Romney said President Barack Obama is "in over his head and swimming in the wrong direction" when it comes to the nation's economy and that his policies are "putting in peril" America's future.
Speaking in Charlotte, N.C., just blocks from where Obama is set to accept his party's nomination this summer at the Democratic National Convention, Romney delivered what his campaign described as a "prebuttal" to Obama's nomination speech, focusing on "what you won't hear" this September.
Romney accused the president of not doing enough to encourage job creation and for running up the nation's debts. And he lambasted Obama for not delivering on the promises he made in his 2008 convention speech, vowing to remind voters of the president's "failures" when it comes to issues like unemployment.
"It is very clear his agenda has not accomplished what he said it would," Romney declared, standing behind a podium featuring a sign that read, "Obama Isn't Working." He went on: "Those are things you won't hear in President Obama's speech ... but because he won't [talk about them], I will. ... I am going to make sure America hears those things loud and clear."
He accused Obama of blaming others when it comes to the struggling economy, and said he can't continue to "deflect blame elsewhere."
"At some point, he has to acknowledge this is his economy," Romney said. "He has failed by the measures he set. You won't hear that at his convention, but you'll hear that at ours."
Romney's speech is part of a larger effort by his campaign to, as his aides describe it, "bracket" his candidacy against Obama. Tomorrow, Romney will travel to Ohio, where he will rebut remarks the president made about the economy in a speech there today—and campaign aides say he will make similar trips in the future to challenge Obama's re-election message.
In his speech today, Romney seemed to acknowledge polls that show him trailing Obama when it comes to likability.
"Even if you like Barack Obama, we can't afford Barack Obama," Romney said.
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