Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell campaign with Mitt Romney in Portsmouth, Va., on Thursday. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.
With a mixed jobs report out Friday, Mitt Romney is keeping up his attacks on President Obama’s economic record. The issue is where Romney stands strongest in a general election matchup — one reason he keeps returning to it after diversions on other issues.
The presumptive GOP nominee is prebutting Mr. Obama’s campaign kickoff rally Saturday in Ohio with an op-ed in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, which begins: “Dear Mr. President, Welcome to Ohio. I have a simple question for you: Where are the jobs?”
Romney outlined his own tax plan and tweaked the president for his 2008 campaign pledges:
Mr. President, while campaigning for the presidency nearly four years ago, you declared that you were “absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”
Mr. President, the American people are tired of the grandiose promises. And they are even more tired of the paltry results.
Mr. President, your promises now ring hollow. If you have brought new ideas to Ohio for creating jobs, why have you waited three years to unveil them? Have you suddenly had a revelation, or is it because 2012 is an election year? Whatever the case, what you are offering Ohio now is too little, too late.
The Republican National Committee is out with a new web video on the same topic. You can watch that here or below.
The push, and likely continued drumbeat, comes one day after Romney waded into the controversy over a Chinese dissident seeking asylum in the United States. Chen Guangcheng’s plight became political Thursday when he phoned a congressional hearing and asked for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s help.
Romney mentioned Guangcheng’s harrowing ordeal in a campaign stop Thursday.
“If these reports are true this is a dark day for freedom,” Romney said, adding that it would be a moment of “shame” for the Obama administration.
(For more on Guangcheng, watch the NewsHour’s lead story from Thursday night here and our analysis segment with the Associated Press’ Charles Hutzler, the ChinaAid Association’s Bob Fu and professor Susan Shirk here.)
On Friday, President Obama will take a ride over the Potomac River to renew his call for Congress to prevent a doubling of student loan interest rates on July 1.
The visit to a high school in Northern Virginia comes a day before Mr. Obama will officially kick off his fall campaign with rallies in the Old Dominion and Ohio.
Romney spent Wednesday and Thursday campaigning in Virginia. At a stop Thursday in Portsmouth, where he was joined by Gov. Bob McDonnell and former nomination rival Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., Romney talked up the importance the battleground could play in November.
“This may well be the state that decides who the next president is,” Romney told the crowd.
The former Massachusetts governor will return to Virginia next week, delivering the commencement address at Liberty University on May 12.
A Washington Post poll released Thursday found Romney had some ground to make up on the president in Virginia. Mr. Obama holds a seven-point advantage, 51 percent to 44 percent, over the presumptive Republican nominee among registered voters in the state.
The president’s margin is bolstered by his support among black voters (97 percent to 1 percent), women (56-38) and those between the ages of 18 and 29 (68-26).
Team Romney has deemed Virginia a must-win and is quoted in the Washington Post Friday comparing the Electoral College map to “molten lava.”
“We’re going to spread the map as far as we can for as long as we can,” Rich Beeson, Romney’s national political director, told Dan Balz.
Explore your own Electoral College scenarios on our Vote 2012 Map Center.
POLITICAL JUJITSU ON TWITTER
Howie and Lauren note that the Republican National Committee’s latest campaign mocking the Obama campaign’s “forward” slogan comes in 140-character talking points. But running a campaign with a Twitter hashtag comes with its own risks, as anyone can jump in, they say.
Watch the segment here or below.
2012 LINE ITEMS
- The White House says Friday’s speech in Arlington, Va., is just the first push from the administration over a new student loan measure. Mr. Obama will hold a conference call with “elected officials and student government leaders from across the country” on Monday. Vice President Joe Biden hosts an event with students and youth organizations on Thursday, and members of the Cabinet will fan out nationwide for a similar effort all week.
- Matt Viser of the Boston Globe reports on Massachusetts Republicans’ new role in the spotlight after many years of political exile.
- Michael Shear of the New York Times looks at the Obama campaign’s messaging behind the fictional woman, “Julia,” and the backlash to the character among conservatives.
- The Democratic National Committee is pre-empting Rick Santorum’s likely endorsement of Romney by reminding voters that Romney’s one-time rival once said he would not help the economy. Sound familiar? That’s one of the things about a primary — there’s lots of fodder to use for that eventual embrace of the nominee. Watch the DNC’s web video here.
- The AFL-CIO is welcoming Romney to Pennsylvania with a research memo suggesting the Republican’s proposals would hurt American workers and plans to demonstrate outside the event. “It’s the beginning of our effort of whatever time, whatever place, Willard goes the working families who are the victims of his vulture capitalism will be there!” an official told the Morning Line.
- Former House speaker Newt Gingrich told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Thursday that he thought he’d already endorsed Romney, despite his less than full-throated embrace of the presumptive GOP nominee during his announcement Wednesday that he was suspending his campaign. Gingrich also did not back off his assertion during the campaign that Romney had lied. “The governor said some things that weren’t true,” Gingrich said.
- A Reuters poll released Thursday showed Santorum and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio as the two leading choices among Republican voters to be Romney’s vice presidential running mate. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush tied for third with 13 percent each.
- Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., would accept the vice presidential nod if offered, according to “a key source in his office,” reports Larry Kane of CBS Philadelphia.
- Texas Rep. Ron Paul, still running for president, boasts in a press release he had more than 5,000 people attend his town hall at UC-Davis this week.
- Vice President Biden will be on Sunday’s “Meet the Press.”
Obama doing very well on the first night of our Iowa poll, think rumors of his demise there are very exaggerated
— PublicPolicyPolling (@ppppolls) May 4, 2012
ABC: Obama camp has 592 people on staff, payroll at $2.2m per month. Jobs! #HotlineSort
— Reid Wilson (@HotlineReid) May 4, 2012
O/H White House basement: “My Spanish is really bad, but I thought ‘cinco’ was ‘five.'” As Pres Obama preps for Cinco de Mayo event.
— Olivier Knox (@OKnox) May 3, 2012
Levi Johnston to name his daughter after a handgun. ow.ly/aGsLk
— People magazine (@peoplemag) May 3, 2012
OUTSIDE THE LINES
- Judy Woodruff talked with Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein about their new book, “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism.” They outline three ways to fix what they say is a broken Washington. Watch here.
- Politico reports, “Eleven Democratic state party chairs will announce their support today for a proposed ‘freedom to marry’ plank in the 2012 Democratic platform.”
- The Washington Post’s Rachel Weiner details Elizabeth Warren’s struggles to respond to questions about her Native American ancestry. The flap also earned her Chris Cillizza’s “Worst Week in Washington” contest.
- Huffington Post’s Zach Carter writes about a fight over a trade deal between some members of Congress and the administration that “marks a rare glimpse inside the typically secretive trade negotiation process.” The issue has “sparked international friction among consumer groups and environmental activists who worry that terms demanded by the Obama administration will eliminate important public protections,” but also has raised concerns about how “Buy American” provisions would impact federal contractors.
- Jerry Seper reports in the Washington Times that Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., has drafted a contempt of Congress resolution against Attorney General Eric Holder for what he dubs a “refusal … to cooperate in an investigation of the botched Fast and Furious gunrunning operation.”
- Find out in our quiz if you are smarter than a 10th grader on climate change.
- The New York Times’ Michael Grynbaum reports on Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter’s pursuit of a 14th term, complicated by a recent broken leg.
- Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., was released from a rehabilitation center Thursday, nearly four months after suffering a major stroke.
- A new Public Policy Polling tested some strange candidates for Virginia’s 2013 gubernatorial contest. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., who is highly unlikely to seek the party nod for his old job, has a 52 percent approval rating and would crush any of the Republicans polled. Politico noted in its writeup about the survey that White House gate-crasher Tareq Salahi is “polling respectably” against Warner for a hypothetical matchup.
- Christina will be on John Dickerson’s CBS reporters roundtable at 12:30 Friday. Tune in to the live stream here.
Katelyn Polantz contributed to this report.
ON THE TRAIL
All events are listed in Eastern Time.
- President Obama delivers remarks on preventing a hike in student loan interest rates at Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, Va., at 11:50 a.m. and welcomes the national champion University of Kentucky men’s basketball team to the White House at 4:50 p.m.
- Vice President Biden delivers remarks at the YWCA USA national conference in Washington, D.C., at 1:15 p.m.
- Mitt Romney meets privately with Rick Santorum before holding a campaign event in Pittsburgh at 12 p.m.
- Ron Paul campaigns in San Diego, attending a fundraiser at 2:30 p.m. and holding a town hall at 10 p.m.
All future events can be found on our Political Calendar:
For more political coverage, visit our politics page.
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Questions or comments? Email Christina Bellantoni at cbellantoni-at-newshour-dot-org.