Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Romney says Obama team making 'excuses' after debate

PORT ST. LUCIE —Mitt Romney painted a foreboding picture of a second Obama term on Sunday, telling more than 10,000 cheering supporters at a rally here that the president would raise taxes on the middle class, weaken the military and explode the deficit if re-elected.

"I don't want four more years like the last four years," Romney, speaking in a rapid-fire tone as rain threatened from a gray sky, said to chants of "USA! USA!"

Before a boisterous crowd spread out on a grassy field next to the town square, Romney tried to capitalize on his momentum from his widely praised debate performance Wednesday.

"We had a little debate earlier this week, and I enjoyed myself," he said, adding that President Barack Obama has been making excuses for his own performance ever since. "Now of course, days later, we're hearing his excuses, and next January, we'll be watching him leave the White House for the last time," Romney said.

He also expressed confidence that he would capture critically important Florida and its 29 electoral votes, saying to loud cheers, "We're going to win in Florida, and we're going to take back the White House."

After his 20-minute speech, Romney walked across the street to the Tin Fish restaurant, where the owner said Romney and his wife, Ann, were picking up grilled fish and chicken. The cash register was adorned with two Romney-Ryan stickers, and the Republican elephant symbol dangled from strings just behind the counter.

Meanwhile, Obama held two fundraisers in Los Angeles. The main event was a "30 Days to Victory" concert at the Nokia Theatre, where performers included Stevie Wonder, Katy Perry and Jon Bon Jovi. Actor George Clooney also spoke.

Obama came on stage and marveled at how they are able to perform flawlessly night after night and then said: "I can't always say the same."

It was a shot at his listless debate. Supporters in the crowd laughed at the line.

Obama's fundraising efforts were a topic on the Sunday political talk shows. On Saturday, the campaign announced it had raised $181 million in September, a near-record haul that pushed the overall total for the campaign to nearly $1 billion.

Seeking to play down the importance of fundraising at this stage in the campaign, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus on Sunday called Obama's September fundraising "impressive" and said he did not know whether Romney and the RNC will match it.

"This is going to come down to work on the ground," Priebus said on CNN's State of the Union.

From the Obama campaign, advisers hit the Sunday shows in an effort to take the sheen off Romney's debate performance, saying it was rooted in dishonesty.

"Governor Romney had a masterful theatrical performance just this past week, but the underpinnings and foundations of that performance were fundamentally dishonest," Robert Gibbs said on ABC's This Week.

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