“Despite his claims, Mitt Romney wasn’t focused on job creation or growing companies. In fact, his own partners have admitted that his sole focus was on reaping profits for himself and his investors, no matter the costs to workers, companies and communities,” the Obama campaign said in a statement ahead of the speech.
Mr. Romney, though, labeled Bain “a great American success story,” saying it started some household-name companies — and indicating that he can do the same for the American economy as a whole.
Mr. Romney plans to detail what he calls a five-step plan for better economic times, including pushing for development of American energy, school choice, a more robust free-trade policy, federal deficit cuts and a pledge to back small businesses.
Mr. Romney also pushed back against Democrats’ charges that the GOP is anti-woman, pointing to all of the women he surrounded himself by during his time in office, and to the leading women in the GOP, including a crop of young reformer governors.
While the speech contained some red meat for conservatives, including a pledge to repeal Mr. Obama’s health care law and a vow to “protect the sanctity of life.” And he briefly laid out a stiffer foreign policy that promised more loyalty to America’s allies and “more backbone” to confront its enemies.
The remarks also seemed designed to personalize an election that Republicans say should be about whether voters are better off now than they were four years ago, when they first backed Mr. Obama.
“President Obama promised to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet. My promise is to help you and your family,” Mr. Romney said.
They also are counting on various voting blocs to find reasons to oppose Mr. Romney, and to build a winning coalition from that. The bloc would include Hispanics upset over Mr. Romney’s immigration policy, gay voters angry over his stance on gay marriage, elderly voters who fear changes to Medicare, and poor and middle-class voters who believe the rich have too much of the country’s wealth.
But Mr. Romney has a much more limited and pointed message, saying the economy comes down to one thing.
“What is needed in our country today is not complicated or profound,” he said. “What America needs is jobs. Lots of jobs.”
Mr. Obama will accept his party’s nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte next week, where he will deliver his address to a stadium full of supporters, as he did in Denver in 2008.
The next major national stage for Mr. Romney, meanwhile, will be the presidential debates with Mr. Obama.
Mr. Romney leaves Tampa on Friday having survived Hurricane Isaac, which shortened the convention by a day. He will campaign Friday in Virginia and in Ohio on Saturday before returning to Florida for more campaigning — highlighting the three states deemed to be the central battleground this year.
The Real Clear Politics average of polls shows Mr. Obama leading by less than 2 percentage points in each of those three states.