Mitt Romney on Thursday called President Barack Obama out on his mishandling of the economy and foreign policy at a campaign rally in Fairfax County, Virginia, a region he said could “well determine who the next president is.”
In a week in which Obama’s equivocation has been in part responsible for Islamists killing the U.S. ambassador to Libya and storming U.S. embassy in Egypt, Romney said America today is at the mercy of events instead of shaping them.
“A strong America is essential to the world,” Romney said.
Romney said the world and the Middle East need America’s leadership, and Romney recounted a meeting with former Polish President Lech Walesa in which Walesa told him, “the world needs American leadership.” Walesa kept asking, “Where is American leadership?”
Much of Fairfax County’s economy is tied to the defense industry, and Romney assured the crowd a strong military that is second to none that “no one would think of testing” was essential to a strong America.
He denounced the proposed military cuts the Obama administration helped put in motion and said he would “restore our military commitment” if elected.
Romney pointed out that the president did not speak about the unemployed during his Democratic National Convention address despite the unemployment numbers ballooning under Obama’s watch and 368,000 Americans giving up and leaving the workforce last month.
Romney criticized Obama for his economic failures and for failing to offer specifics about how he would fix the country’s economy going forward.
“I didn’t just study the economy in school, I’ve lived in the economy for 25 years,” Romney said, before asking the audience to “find someone who voted for Obama and get them to join our team.”
One in seven voters in Virginia live in Fairfax County, which Obama won in 2008 with 60% of the vote. In 2008, though, Republican Bob McDonnell barely won the county in the gubernatorial race. How well Romney does or how much he can hold down Obama’s margin in the county may determine if he will win Virginia, one of the most important swing states in the country.