Total Pageviews

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Romney Says Obama \'Has Failed America\'s Women\'

Mitt Romney criticized President Obama's jobs record during his speech at a campaign rally on Wednesday in Chesapeake, Va.Richard Perry/The New York TimesMitt Romney criticized President Obama's jobs record during his speech at a campaign rally on Wednesday in Chesapeake, Va.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - At his first public event since Tuesday night's debate, Mitt Romney made no mention of the Obama administration's handling of the deadly attack last month in Libya - an issue on which he had hoped to score some points during the face-off at Hofstra University on Long Island - and instead refocused his attention on President Obama's record on jobs and economic issues.

“I think it's interesting that the president still doesn't have an agenda f or a second term,” Mr. Romney told supporters at an outdoor rally here Wednesday. “Don't you think that it's time for him to finally put together a vision of what he'd do in the next four years if he were elected? I mean, he's got to come up with that over this weekend, because there is only one debate left, on Monday.”

Mr. Romney continued: “I just think the American people had expected that the president of the United States would be able to describe what he's going to do in the next four years. But he can't. He can't even explain what he's done in the last four years. I mean, he spends most of his time trying to talk about how my plan won't work. Well, what about his plan? We know his plan has not worked.”

Signaling the importance that both campaigns place on the women's vote, Mr. Romney also hit hard on the notion that women have fared particularly poorly under the Obama administration. “This president has failed America's women,” he said. “T hey've suffered in terms of getting jobs. They've suffered in terms of falling into poverty. This is a presidency that has not helped America's women.”

But economists have questioned important aspects of Mr. Romney's argument that the Obama administration has been particularly hard for women. Mr. Romney has suggested Mr. Obama is to blame because most jobs lost the past four years had been held by women. However, that argument has been called misleading by economists who say the reason women lost proportionally more jobs in recent years was because male-dominated industries more sensitive to the business cycle like manufacturing and construction were hit heavily, and first, in the recession, before Mr. Obama's inauguration. Later on, state and local governments clobbered by the recession's impact on tax revenue passed budgets that cut education and other government work forces that are more disproportionately composed of women.

Som e economists also say that Republican policies that call for greater shrinkage of governments â€" where women are more highly represented in jobs like teachers and administrators â€" may well be worse for female employment than Democratic policies that do not advocate the same government austerity.

Mr. Romney also made light of Mr. Obama's explanation during Tuesday night's debate why gasoline prices had risen sharply the past four years. (Gas prices plunged during the 2008 collapse as the economy sputtered to a halt.)

“The president's answer - you remember this - he said, ‘Well, the economy has gotten stronger,' ” Mr. Romney said. “Now, on that basis, when we have a real recovery he would suggest that gasoline prices are going to go up to six or eight dollars - is that what he is saying? I mean, this was the most classic of the nonanswers of the night.”

He added, “I think it's pretty clear that when it comes to his policies and his answers and his agenda, he's pretty much running on fumes.”

Mr. Romney also hit on some of his stock campaign-trail themes. But he did not make mention of what his campaign has sought to capitalize on as its first significant opening on foreign policy in recent months: what Obama administration critics have characterized as the White House's slow, grudging willingness to admit that the attack in Benghazi last month that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans was an act of terrorism and not a spontaneous reaction to a YouTube video offensive to Muslims.

At the debate, Mr. Romney had sought to use the administration's shifting accounts of the attack against Mr. Obama, but the president called “offensive” the suggestion that the White House misled anyone. Mr. Romney's aides were left arguing after the debate that Mr. Obama had not really described the attack early on as an act of terror, after the moderator, Candy Crowley, during the debate had backed up Mr. Obama when he said he had done so.