Monday, November 20, 2017

Unrelenting Obama jabs at Romney's job record

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GLEN ALLEN, Va. — An unrelenting President Barack Obama jabbed at Mitt Romney's record with a private equity firm in an ad Saturday that aimed to keep his rival on the defensive just as the Republican challenger's campaign hoped to take advantage of poor economic data to gain an edge on the incumbent.

Obama met Romney's demand for an apology for the attacks with a mocking ad that charged that the firm shipped American jobs to China and Mexico, that Romney has personal wealth in investments in Switzerland, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, and that as Massachusetts governor, he sent state jobs to India.

"Mitt Romney's not the solution. He's the problem," the ads says as Romney is heard singing America the Beautiful.

Pressure was building on Romney from within his own party to be more forthcoming with his finances, a day after he declared he would not release past income tax returns beyond his 2010 tax records and, before the November election, his 2011 taxes.

On the sidelines of the National Governors Association meeting in Williamsburg, Va., Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, a Republican, called on Romney to release all the documents requested of him.

"If you have things to hide, then maybe you're doing things wrong," Bentley said. "I think you ought to be willing to release everything to the American people."

A soaked Obama, campaigning in a downpour in closely contested Virginia, hewed to his middle class-centered pitch in remarks in the district represented by one of his top Republican nemeses, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. He attacked Romney and his Republican allies for pursuing what the president branded as outdated and discredited economic policies.

Obama played up the charge that Romney and the private equity firm he founded in 1984, Bain Capital, sent jobs overseas.

"He invested in companies that have been called pioneers of outsourcing," the president said to about 900 people in Glen Allen. "I don't want pioneers in outsourcing, I want some insourcing. I want to bring companies back."

Romney took the weekend off from public events.

The attacks and the calls for greater openness came amid stepped up attention to discrepancies between Securities and Exchange Commission filings and Romney's recollection of his role at Boston-based Bain Capital.

At stake is Romney's contention that he has the experience to create jobs and spur a struggling economy. The Obama campaign has countered that Romney ran a firm that pioneered the practice of sending American jobs out of the country and that his background is one of an investor.

Romney insists that he stepped down from his private equity firm years earlier than federal records indicate.

The new Obama ad was set to run in closely fought Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Campaign spending: The Obama campaign has spent nearly $100 million on television commercials in selected battleground states so far. More than 20 percent of that has been in Ohio. Florida ranks second and Virginia third, according to organizations that track media spending and other sources.

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