Washington: President Barack Obama`s campaign intensified criticism of Mitt Romney`s record as Massachusetts governor on Thursday, attempting to build on assertions that the Republican nominee does not relate to the troubles of America`s broad middle class.
Romney, meanwhile, was trying to show a sharp contrast between his record in the private sector and the Obama administration`s support for green energy companies.
Obama`s campaign released a web video today highlighting local Massachusetts officials who criticized Romney for not making good on his promises to grow the state`s economy. The state was 47th out of 50 in job growth during his tenure as governor from 2003-2007, though the unemployment rate dropped.
"He cut programs essential to the middle class like manufacturing and education, while giving special breaks to the wealthiest," Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said.
Top Obama strategist David Axelrod planned to appear today in Boston, where Romney`s campaign has headquarters, to criticize Romney`s record in the state.
In a memo released yesterday, Axelrod wrote, "Under Gov. Romney, the Massachusetts economy was not at the top or even in the middle, but close to the bottom of all the states."
For months, Obama and his allies have signaled plans to target Romney`s Massachusetts record. The critique builds on a line of attack this month on Romney`s record at Bain Capital, which Obama`s team contends led to job losses and bankrupt companies even while Bain profited.
Romney co-founded the private equity investment firm, from which he accumulated a fortune estimated at about USD 250 million. He no longer operates the company but maintains financial ties.
"Whether companies succeeded or failed, Romney Economics netted huge profits for him and his investors, but sometimes proved devastating for the middle-class workers whose jobs, benefits and pensions were put at risk," Axelrod wrote.
Republicans contend that Obama`s critique of the Bain record will backfire because it will give voters the impression that he is anti-business. The economy has emerged as the most pressing issue of the November election, with many voters undecided about which candidate is best suited to speed up the country`s slow recovery from the Great Recession.
Last night, Romney regaled California donors with the story of the Staples office supply chain, one of the companies backed by Bain Capital. He said his firm started by investing a few million dollars, while Staples executives worked out of spartan offices furnished with old imitation leather chairs.
It looked a lot different, Romney said, than the glass-walled headquarters the green energy company Solyndra built and maintained with the help of federal loan guarantees before it went bankrupt last year. Solyndra collapsed not long after receiving USD 500 million in government loan guarantees as part of the Obama programme to stimulate the renewable energy industry.