Obama Doesn't Understand Business, Romney Tells Va. Voters

Obama Doesn't Understand Business, Romney Tells Va. Voters

By Caitlin Huey-Burns - November 2, 2012

DOSWELL, Va. -- During what could be his final campaign swing through the Old Dominion, Mitt Romney on Thursday centered his closing pitch to Virginia voters on American businesses, characterizing President Obama as inept at understanding how they operate and create jobs.

The Republican presidential nominee introduced a new criticism of the incumbent, citing Obama's proposal to consolidate several business-related government agencies into one new cabinet position.

“I don’t think another cabinet chair is going to create the jobs we need,” Romney told a crowd gathered at the Farm Bureau Center, a warehouse-like event space located just north of Richmond. Ahead of his visit, his campaign released a Web video highlighting a longtime Richmond-based barbeque chain that has closed down due to economic conditions. The campaign also released a new ad Thursday accusing Obama of wanting to grow government bureaucracy.

“Secretary of business? His solution to everything is to add another bureaucrat. Why not have a president who actually understands business?” says the narrator in the ad, which is airing in Virginia. In an interview with MSNBC that aired Monday, Obama said that if he wins a second term, “we should have one secretary of business instead of nine different departments that are dealing with things like giving loans [to small businesses] or helping companies with exports.”

The presidential race in Virginia is among the tightest of those in key battleground states. The RealClearPolitics Average shows the candidates running virtually even, with Romney leading by just 0.5 percent.

Obama won the state by seven points in 2008, capitalizing on demographic shifts in the northern tier of swing counties and having high base turnout around Richmond. Since then, however, voters in the state elected a Republican governor, legislature and a handful of congressmen. Virginia is more critical to Romney’s electoral map than it is to Obama, though the president could essentially put the race away if he wins the state.

Still, neither man has it locked up. George Allen, a former governor and senator who is running in a deadlocked race against Tim Kaine for the state’s open Senate seat, outlined the stakes: “Decisions that will be made by the people of Virginia will determine the trajectory of our country,” he said, flanked by Gov. Bob McDonnell and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, before Romney spoke

McDonnell has been campaigning for Romney since January, and was once considered a vice presidential contender. The governor won election in 2009 by 18 points, centering his campaign on business and jobs, but turnout in the presidential contest figures to be higher than in the local race. Republicans insist, however, that McDonnell’s campaign infrastructure will help move the state back into the red column. (Obama was the first Democrat since 1964 to carry the commonwealth.)

Virginia has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, which could help the president. Earlier this year, however, McDonnell claimed credit for economy, running ads touting the state as encouraging to business. Here in Doswell, McDonnell introduced Romney as a “fix it” guy who knows how business works.

Romney’s appeal during the past year and a half on the trail has largely been an economic one, touting his resume as a businessman. But in the final days of the contest, he has made a pitch for bipartisanship and “change” in Washington (his stump speech now carries echoes Obama’s 2008 campaign slogan). During Thursday’s rally, Romney turned to Cantor, whose district includes Doswell, and asked him when he last met with the president. Cantor, who has become one of the faces of Republican opposition to the White House, guessed that it’s been nearly a year.

1 | 2 | Next Page››

Caitlin Huey-Burns is a congressional reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @CHueyBurnsRCP.

Virginia's Results Pose Puzzle for Parties
Salena Zito · November 16, 2014
Mitt Romney for Mayor
Carl M. Cannon · November 16, 2014

Latest On Twitter