Battling toe-to-toe for the first time, Mitt Romney leap-frogged President Obama in dueling economic speeches Thursday to Ohio voters, and ripped his opponent’s record on jobs growth and an American economy stuck in neutral.
The president, countering in an economic address of his own moments later, claimed that Romney’s economic prescriptions would signal a return to policies that set the stage for the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent recession. He alleged Romney’s policies would mirror those of the George W. Bush administration.
The two speeches in one of the most critical of battleground states — with Romney speaking from Cincinnati, and Obama from Cleveland — marked the closest thing yet to a general election debate. Each candidate described the other as disastrous for the country’s economic future.
In Cincinnati, Romney preempted the president after initially being scheduled to begin his speech a few minutes after Obama. Instead, Romney started early — getting the jump on the president’s speech to offer his own rebuttal in advance.
Romney said Obama was delivering the economic address “because he hasn’t delivered a recovery for the economy.”
“He’s going to be a person of eloquence as he describes his plans for making the economy better, but don’t forget — he’s been president for three and a half years, and talk is cheap. Action speaks very loud,” he said.
Romney accused Obama of pushing policies that are bad for business. “Let’s go through them one by one,” he said. “Failed stimulus; ObamaCare resulted in fewer hires; Dodd-Frank hurt banks’ ability to lend, especially to small businesses; failed energy policy.”
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