Plagued by dismal economic statistics, U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday offered his vision to grow the economy, create more jobs, and pay down the national debt, outlining his economic plan for reelection, while his Republican opponent Mitt Romney bashed his record as president.
In a major economic speech in Cleveland, Ohio, Obama said “the debate in this election is about how we grow faster, and how we create more jobs, and how we pay down our debt,” and he and the Republican’s presumed nominee Mitt Romney represent dueling visions for the country’s economic future.
“In this election, you have two very different visions to choose from,” said Obama.
He went on to bash the Republican vision of rolling back regulation, extending Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, as well as giving more tax cuts to the rich, and pay for the spending and deficit by cutting services and possibly raising taxes for the middle class.
“We can’t afford to jeopardize our future by repeating the mistakes of the past,” said the president. “Not now. Not when there’s so much at stake.”
Obama said his vision involved building infrastructure, investing in education, pursuing energy independence by doubling down on green energy, and incentivize innovation. He said to pay for the investments and pay down national debt, the country needs to raise taxes on the well-off.
“That’s my vision for America,” said Obama. “Education, energy, innovation, infrastructure, and a tax code focused on American job creation and balanced deficit reduction.”
Just like Obama, Romney was also in the battleground state of Ohio Thursday. He took to the stage in Cincinnati a little earlier than Obama to offer his “prebuttle” to Obama’s economic speech, and castigated Obama for his record in turning the country around from the worst recession in decades.
“He’s been president for three and a half years. And talk is cheap. Actions speak very loud.” said Romney. “If you want to see the results of his economic policy, look around Ohio, look around the country.”
But unlike Obama, who offered an economic vision for the future, Romney delivered a standard, 20-minute campaign speech, criticizing Obama for the economic stimulus, the health care reform and not approving the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada.
The sluggish economy is proving to be a difficult corner to turn for Obama, which has dragged down his poll numbers and turned more people favorable toward Romney, whose experience in the private sector and turning around the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics has earned him a “fixer” image.
In face of slower growth and rising unemployment, Obama is also unlikely to get cooperation from recalcitrant Republicans to send relief to the market, but Obama said November’s election will give voters the chance to break a stalemate about the country’s direction.