(IRWIN, Pa.) — Reeling from broadsides on his private background, Mitt Romney rebounded Tuesday by indicting President Obama for what he said was the president’s misunderstanding of the country and how business works.
Romney’s offensive returned the presidential campaign to a debate about policy, and not about tax records, offshore accounts and Bain Capital, the slings that Democrats have hurled at Romney for weeks while the economy sputters.
His powerful speech, which resonated with his supporters and brought them to their feet, was an entirely reworked message that exploited a portion of comments Obama made this weekend. Obama, touting the role of government in helping businesses succeed, said that “if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.”
“President Obama exposed what he really thinks about free people and the American vision and government, what he really thinks about America itself,” Romney told the fiery crowd of about 1,000 today in Irwin, Pa., calling Obama’s comment “foolishness” and “insulting to every entrepreneur.”
He said it was as if Obama argued that Steve Jobs, Henry Ford, “Papa John” Schnatter, Ray Kroc and Bill Gates didn’t start their successful enterprises on their own, but that rather they owed a debt to government for boosting them.
“I’m convinced he wants Americans to be ashamed of success,” Romney said.
Obama’s team stuck to its main campaign message today with another ad suggesting that Romney is hiding information in his tax returns that hasn’t been released. The ad, which cites a growing number of prominent Republicans saying Romney might as well release his records, notes that Romney gave his returns to John McCain in 2008 as part of the vetting process for a running mate, and that McCain eventually chose Sarah Palin.
McCain later told Politico that he chose Palin over Romney because she was a better candidate, not because Romney’s taxes revealed poisonous revelations.
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Dylan Byers, CNN
Ariane de Vogue and Laura Jarrett, CNN