TOPICS > Politics

Romney, Obama Shift Campaign Focus Back to Economy

May 11, 2012 at 12:00 AM EST
After days of campaign rhetoric over same-sex marriage, President Obama and Mitt Romney shifted back to the economy Friday. In North Carolina, Romney took aim at President Obama's "liberal policies" while the president alluded to Republican ideas having caused the financial crisis. Judy Woodruff reports.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: President Obama and Mitt Romney stumped in two swing states today, focusing on the number-one concern of voters.

The president and his challenger shifted back to the economy today in two battleground states.  The presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, visited a foundry in Charlotte, North Carolina.

MITT ROMNEY (R): We have a president who’s installed some of the old liberal policies from the past, and they didn’t work then. And they sure as heck are not working now, and they will not work in the future.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

JUDY WOODRUFF: The visit came just three days after North Carolina voters approved a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

Romney supports such bans, but he didn’t raise the issue today, nor did he mention The Washington Post report that, in high school, Romney and others bullied a gay classmate by holding him down and cutting his hair.

The candidate apologized yesterday on FOX News, although he said he doesn’t remember the incident, and didn’t know then that the boy was gay.

MITT ROMNEY: There is no question but that I did some stupid things when I was in high school. And, obviously, if I hurt anyone by virtue of that, I would be very sorry and apologize for it.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, President Obama was in Reno, Nev., where the recession hit especially hard, promoting his policies over Republican ideas.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: It’s going to take a long time for the economy to fully recover, more time than any of us would like. And I refuse to sell this country short by going back to the exact same ideas that helped to get us in this mess in the first place.

JUDY WOODRUFF: This was fresh off last night’s Hollywood fund-raiser at the home of actor George Clooney, bringing in a one-night record $15 million.

Mr. Obama won warm applause from a crowd that welcomed his newly announced support for gay marriage. The president took that stance after Vice President Biden said Sunday that he is absolutely comfortable with same-sex couples marrying. Wednesday on ABC, Mr. Obama said he had meant to address the issue before the vice president spoke out.

BARACK OBAMA: I had already made a decision that we were going to probably take this position before the election, and before the convention. He probably got out a little bit over his skis, but out of generosity of spirit.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Reports today said Mr. Biden apologized to the president shortly before Wednesday’s interview.