UPDATE 1-Gamesmanship abounds as Obama, Romney campaigns duel over jobs

Thu May 31, 2012 6:02pm EDT

* Obama campaign says Romney was failure as governor

* Obama strategist makes raucous appearance in Boston

* Romney visits Solyndra to attack Obama's economic approach

By Ros Krasny and Sam Youngman

BOSTON/FREMONT, California, May 31 (Reuters) - The campaigns of President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney took their political gamesmanship up a notch on Thursday, with dueling events that featured raucous heckling, a secret trip for reporters and symbolic backdrops that reflected the increasing intensity of the tight race for the White House.

Obama's chief strategist David Axelrod invaded Romney's home turf, blasting the Republican's record as Massachusetts governor at an appearance in Boston where Axelrod frequently was interrupted by an organized crowd of heckling Romney supporters.

Romney retaliated a few hours later with an unannounced trip to the California headquarters of Solyndra, a solar panel company that went bankrupt despite receiving $535 million in loan guarantees from the Obama administration.

Romney's campaign went to great lengths to avoid the sort of heckling that greeted Axelrod, keeping the candidate's visit to Solyndra secret even from his traveling press corps until reporters were boarding the bus for the event.

"You saw what happened in Boston today," a senior Romney adviser said when asked about the secrecy.

The scenes on each coast highlighted the campaigns' battle of messages over jobs and the economy.

In Boston, Obama's camp argued that Romney's experience in Massachusetts was among many signs of the former governor's flawed favoritism of the wealthy.

Before a crowd outside the Massachusetts statehouse, Axelrod noted that the state ranked 47th out of 50 in job creation during Romney's four years as governor, from 2003 to 2007. He said the state's long-term debt grew and Romney broke a tax-cutting pledge by raising a range of fees that mostly hurt the middle class.

"Romney economics didn't work then and it won't work now," Axelrod said, straining to be heard over a group of chanting and heckling supporters organized by the Romney campaign.

Romney countered Axelrod's attack with the visit to Solyndra, which he said was evidence of Obama's poor economic leadership and his failure to understand how a free-market economy works.

"Free enterprise to the president means taking money from the taxpayers and giving it freely to his friends," Romney told reporters outside Solyndra's headquarters in Fremont, California.

"If the business had done spectacularly well, the shareholders - his friends - would have done very, very well but the taxpayers would have just gotten their money back," he said.

"On the other hand, of course, if the business failed, as it did, it's the taxpayers that get stuck with losing a half a billion dollars. So it's heads and his cronies win, and tails and the taxpayers lose."

Romney, who has said his real-world business experience makes him uniquely qualified to turn around the sluggish economy, said Massachusetts' unemployment rate had dropped to 4.7 percent while he was governor.

"My guess is the people of America would be very pleased if they could see a number like 4.7 percent," Romney said.


The exchanges on jobs and the economy, which polls show is the main concern of voters, came the day before the federal government releases its May jobs report. The U.S. unemployment rate was 8.1 percent in April, when job growth slowed sharply.

Romney clinched the Republican nomination this week with a victory in the Texas primary, although the race had been over for weeks as his remaining rivals suspended their campaigns.

Polls show Romney and Obama running neck and neck nationwide and in many of the crucial battleground states that will be essential to gathering the 270 electoral votes needed to capture the White House.

A NBC/Marist College poll released on Thursday showed Romney and Obama virtually deadlocked in three politically divided states - Iowa, Colorado and Nevada.

The Obama campaign has hit Romney hard for his years as head of the Bain Capital private equity fund, accusing it of bleeding jobs from companies to maximize profits before, in some cases, shutting them down.

The criticism has worried some Democrats who fear the attacks could turn off independent voters and be seen as criticism of free enterprise.

In Boston, Axelrod was joined on stage by a mix of Massachusetts Democrats, some of whom had served under Romney. Axelrod said manufacturing jobs disappeared during Romney's tenure at twice the national rate and that Romney had been about "taking what he can when he can."

He was frequently interrupted by the hecklers, who at times chanted "So-lyn-dra, So-lyn-dra."

Pointing to the hecklers, Axelrod said they were perhaps Romney's only backers in the state, where opinion polls show Obama with a big lead.

"It's a harsh judgment from the people who have come to know him best," Axelrod said.

At Solyndra, Romney defended the Boston hecklers and noted that he has been subjected to similar interruptions on the campaign trail by Obama supporters.

"Many of the events I go to, there are large groups of, if you will, Obama supporters there heckling me. And at some point you say, you know what, sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander," Romney said. "If they're going to be heckling us, why, we're not going to sit back and play by very different rules."

A senior adviser denied Romney's campaign was being paranoid in being so secretive about the visit to the Solyndra plant.

"Look, it's clear that they don't like questions being raised about Solyndra," the adviser said of Obama's campaign. "We're going to go right to the location itself. We thought the best way to do it would be with as little advance notice as possible."

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Comments (1)
Icu_dude wrote:
As much as I hate being associated with Obama’s economic efforts, most of what he has tried is along the right path. It just comes up short on being financed or in regulations most of the time. He’s an obvious half-stepper! It’s been pointed out by a documentary I heard but forget who did it, that the amount of stimulus was way out of proportion to the damage done by the Republican administration under Bush. I’m pissed off Obama didn’t make better use of the super majority in congress to pass the legislation needed to fund a proper stimulus and regulate the economy quickly out of the great recession. He could have gotten a bigger stimulus if he had made the case to the people that a huge amount of money more than Bush suggest and what he asked for would be needed. It escapes me as to why he didn’t! I have to conclude his stones are not big enough! He basically threw the money away at short lived stimulus projects. No real planning. Just helter skelter dumps here and there. Could have bargained with the banks to forgive credit card debt so we could get the spenders back! Made no real efforts to bring back some of the industries lost. It’s better to subsidize some of those industries while hoping so call future industries can be invented. He’s got us wavering in the wind without real hope when we could be reeving along.

Not getting rid of Bush Tax Cuts, not forgiving credit card and housing debt due to scams, or bringing our soldiers home within his first year has kept us in this endless recession.

Even with the things I have against Obama I believe Solyndra is the kind of thing Obama should be doing more of. We need to get green energy up and going! It’s unfortunate that China is getting away with subsidizing more efficient crystal solar cells and selling them cheap. Obama should be countering it with the same method to keep America working! But how can he?! He blew the opportunity with a super majority to get enough stimulus funding and quickly get the ball rolling on solar production and the economy in general! Couldn’t get a bigger bite at the apple the first time because he let the Bush Tax Cuts ride! Have yet to penalize the banks and Wall Street for the damage they caused! Therefore, he doesn’t have enough stimulus heat to raise a blister on a gnats butt! Solyndra is just a symptom of getting so shorted on funding Obama can’t make the proper adjustments to the Chinese approach. It’s the model we should be applying to gain control of those markets that our business people are not interested in because of the risk and because Obama is still letting them put our water supple and fishing in jeopardy drilling and fracting for oil! It’s a total case of mismanagement on Obama’s part that has us still in this recession.

Yet, Romney will just do what got us here but juice the economy for a while with easy credit, having the poor living even poorer, another generation burdened with huge debt, destined to blow up again! It will be just another era of loose credit and big financial scams! That’s a scarier proposition than where we’re at because we may not recover next time!

I don’t know if where we’re at is that safe! Many American’s are fed up! We’re already on the verge of a civil war! Romney will push us right over the edge! Obama may just slowly fade us to black before the first bomb of the revolution sounds! We need a third party! But more than that we need campaign contributions out of politics! We can’t get things done because candidates can be threaten with getting cut off of the Big Daddy’s bankroll(corporations and the rich)! We need to get rid of the Whoredom that has stolen our democracy!

Republicans don’t know when their nonsense has been layed on too thick! I believe America has had it with them! Free Markets is not the way! It’s being proved right now! Proof’s in the pudding! You must provide protections for workers in your country or you’ll be degraded more and more because of all the cheap labor around the world! FREE MARKETS BUILD UNDER DEVELOPED COUNTRIES AND TEAR DOWN DEVELOPED COUNTRIES!

THIS IS NOTHING BUT A SHAKE DOWN, BREAK DOWN TO MAKE AMERICANS WORK CHEAPER! Before you know it, many Americans will live like third world people and be secret slaves on farms or in rich people’s homes sweating away under the fear that they’ll be replaced with a younger and prettier slave! Capitalism is little more than a sophisticate slave system in it’s pure form! It’s socialism that gives it civility! There needs to be a better balance struck between them!

If you’re going to stay this present course you’re going to have to create a bigger welfare state or war will break out sooner than later. I really wish someone would talk sense to these idiots who have us living with criminals next door and filling our communities, created by poverty imposed on them and us. If I had enough money, I’d move! California can’t even keep them all locked up! Many more are not going to be locked up because we can’t afford enough police catch them!

It’s a better solution to protect jobs by raising tariffs and fees to access our markets instead of this nonsense presently enacted! I keep hearing that corporations have so many loop holes they pay no taxes at all! Free Markets mean wealth for the few and slavery and poverty for the many! It creates a nation in distress, under duress, and under threat of violence! That cuts into our productive potential! It’s why the poor kids are less successful academically! Idiots keep trying to get around environment as something that has to change to get better results! It’s also had for kids to have hope and belief in education when seeing parents dirt poor and likely passing the hopelessness visually and verbally to their kids! We need to change these circumstances before we can hope to change the results. We can’t continue to have jobs doled out purely on the basis of education if it doesn’t take education to do the job! I agree that at least a GED should be required!

Poverty is just creating more criminals and we’re about to blow! Let’s hope we change direction before that powder keg is lit! It’s too late to get a better candidate than Obama and Romney is clearly going the wrong way! Maybe Obama is just as bad a choice. Maybe Obama blew our last chance to get this country on the right path to avoid destruction! I don’t like either candidate. I have no faith we will avoid destruction. I may just sit it out and put my fingers in my ears so I don’t hear the boom of the bombs and guns going off! When one of the revolutionary soldiers show up at my door I’ll meet them with a Swiss flag and claim neutrality!

It’s a no win situation no matter what I do! Democrat’s balls are not big enough and Republican’s have big balls but small brains! Unfortunately they also hold the money bags and lead a great many mindless, overly self righteous, religious idiots in league with them. Democrat’s have a morality problem as they allow for the killing of the unborn and the destruction of the institution of marriage God established! Yet better at being their brother’s keeper than Republicans! Crazy world and very uncomfortable situation. I’m pretty much set on sitting this one out. We elected a Democrat and we’re STILL DOING REPUBLICAN TRICKLE DOWN ECONOMICS! Why bother! Obama should hit Romney with the fact that Republicans have never turned the economy over to him and the reason we’re still in this recession is an economy running as Republican economic planning for the most part. If I had the money, I’d build a bomb shelter! We’re about to blow! All because Obama blew it! OBAMA SHOULD HAVE INSTITUTED THE PLAN HE CAMPAIGNED ON TO GET ELECTED! THAT’S THE RIGHT PLAN FOR THE MOST PART!

Jun 04, 2012 2:21am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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