Romney rips Obama in West Palm Beach, prepares for big fundraiserby George Bennett | January 12th, 2012
Sounding more like a general election nominee than a candidate slogging through a crowded primary field, Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney ripped President Obama‘s handling of the economy and the federal budget before a crowd of about 400 at the Palm Beach County Convention Center.
“We’ve had three years now with unemployment above 8 percent,” Romney said. “You remember three years ago the newly elected president said ‘Let me borrow $787 billion, I’ll keep unemployment below 8 percent.’ It hasn’t been below since. This president has failed the American people.”
The 8 percent “promise,” frequently mentioned by Republican candidates, is a reference to a projection by Obama’s economic advisers in January 2009 that a stimulus package would keep unemployment below 8 percent and the jobless rate would near 9 percent otherwise.
The unemployment rate, which was 7.8 percent in January 2009, peaked at 10 percent in October 2009 and stood at 8.5 percent in December.
“The president’s run out of ideas. And he’s running out of excuses. And in 2012, with your help, he’s run out of time,” Romney said.
The crowd spontaneously broke into chants of “Mitt, Mitt, Mitt” at one point during Romney’s remarks, which lasted about 20 minutes. The casually dressed Romney spent at least as much time afterward shaking hands and signing autographs.
Romney this evening is expected to raise $1 million or more tonight in Palm Beach at a fundraiser at the oceanfront home of Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross.
Organizers for today’s rally set up a room in the convention center with a capacity of 400. That number was reached, and the campaign said about 100 others listened to Romney’s remarks in an adjoining room.
Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater introduced Romney. Former Republican U.S. Rep. Clay Shaw of Fort Lauderdale was on hand.