Romney visiting Raleigh, Charlotte
Posted April 18, 2012 10:28 a.m. EDT
Updated April 18, 2012 6:09 p.m. EDT
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney visited North Carolina Wednesday to deliver a speech near Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, where President Obama will accept the Democratic Party's nomination later this year.
Romney's campaign called the visit a "prebuttal" to Obama's acceptance speech in September.
"Obama is over his head and swimming in the wrong direction" when it comes to the economy, the former Massachusetts governor said in a scorching speech.
"Even if you like Barack Obama, we can't afford Barack Obama," he declared in an evident reference to the president's ability to transcend at least some of the public's dissatisfaction with the pace of the recovery.
Romney quoted liberally – and mockingly – from Obama's 2008 campaign pledges to repair the economy.
"We're a trusting people. We're a hopeful people. But we are not dumb, and we are not going to fall for the same lines from the same person just because it's a different place," he said.
Polls consistently show the economy is the top issue for the nation's voters, who will decide whether to accept Romney's indictment or Obama's reassurances.
"You're not going to see President Obama standing alongside Greek columns," Romney said, referring to props used at the 2008 Democratic convention. "He's not going to want to remind anyone of Greece, because he's put us on a road to become more like Greece," where crushing debt has led to an austerity plan and public protests.
Romney also was raising money in both Charlotte and Raleigh.
He stopped in Raleigh Wednesday morning for a fundraising luncheon at the Angus Barn restaurant.
Republican Party officials estimate he could raise about $1 million at the two North Carolina events.
The appearances come one day before early voting opens at sites statewide.