In an open letter to President Obama in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Mitt Romney doesn’t hold back:
Mr. President, forgive me for being blunt, but when it comes to economic affairs, you’re out of your depth. Unlike you, I am not a career politician. Unlike you, I’ve spent more than two decades working in the private sector, starting new businesses and turning around failing ones. Undoing the damage you’ve done will be a daunting challenge. But I’ve learned a thing or two about how government policies can kill private investment and stifle job creation and I have a plan to get government out of the way.
Mr. President, while campaigning for the presidency nearly four years ago, you declared that you were “absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”
Mr. President, the American people are tired of the grandiose promises. And they are even more tired of the paltry results.
Some conservatives are critical of this “Obama’s a nice guy, but out of his element” message that Romney’s been pushing, and they do raise valid issues. But the fact is a lot of the voters Romney’s trying to reach out to do think Obama’s a nice guy, regardless of whether he is or not. If Romney starts attacking Obama as a person, these voters may just tune out.
As his column shows, there are ways to forcefully attack the president’s record without getting personal. It was also well timed to combat the spin from the White House over the jobs numbers out today. The unemployment rate dropped slightly last month to 8.1 percent, but as John Steele Gordon wrote earlier today, that’s because Americans are giving up on looking for employment. Jim Pethokoukis calculates that if the workforce participation rate stayed the same as it was when President Obama was elected, the current unemployment rate would be 11.1 percent. The White House is counting on the falling official unemployment rate to reassure the public that its policies are working, but as conservatives have pointed out today, this number alone tells us little about the current health of the economy.