Off the heels of a strong debate performance Wednesday, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney hammered home his plan Friday at St. Pete Pier Park in front of thousands of supporters.
“I enjoyed that debate a couple nights ago,” Romney said with a big smile. He said he was able to ask the president directly about his "failed" jobs and economic policies.
He said if Obama is re-elected and the current debt rate continues, “That would be $20 trillion, if he would be re-elected,” Romney said. “That would put in jeopardy the American Dream. I’m going to make sure we cut and cap federal (spending)."
Ann Romney, who introduced her husband Friday, said the debates gave Americans the chance to “see the real Mitt Romney.”
“I was so thrilled at the debate for people to see my husband unfiltered, without any negative ads and any media (spin),” she said. “The next four weeks are so important that all of us understand how critical this election is.”
Congressman C.W. Bill Young echoed Ann Romney’s sentiments prior to Romney's speech Friday.
“Thanks to the nature of TV media, a lot of you saw the real Mitt Romney for the first time during the debate because it wasn’t censored by a quote unquote journalist,” Young said. “We heard the truth Wednesday night (and) Thursday morning the pundits could not say enough about the good job Mitt Romney did.”
According Reuters, in the latest polls, Romney has received a slight jump since the debate.
“President Barack Obama's lead over challenger Mitt Romney has narrowed to just two percentage points since the Republican's strong performance in their first debate, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Friday.”
Romney said Florida is crucial for him to win the election. Friday marked the second time this year he has visited St. Petersburg. On Saturday he will head to Apopka and Sunday Port St. Lucie.
The importance of Florida was repeated by several guest speakers who took the stage before Gov. Romney. For former St. Pete Mayor Rick Baker, the key to the election is in St. Petersburg and Pinellas County.
“Welcome to St. Petersburg,” Baker said. “Welcome to Pinellas County, the anchor of the I-4 corridor and the epicenter of the American presidential campaign this year.
“(History says) when you win Pinellas County, you win the I-4 corridor,” Baker added. “History will also tell you that when you win the I-4 corridor, you win the state of Florida.”
Baker said if Romney wins Florida, he will win the presidency.
One thing Romney did not mention Friday in St. Petersburg, was the unexpected positive September jobs report.
According to the jobs report released Friday morning, the unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent after the U.S. economy added 114,000 new jobs in September. The rate represents a 44-month low for unemployment.
Shortly after the Romney event, Lis Smith with the Obama for American campaign released a response to Gov. Romney’s speech in St. Petersburg.
“There was one very telling omission from Mitt Romney’s event in Florida tonight: today’s jobs news. That’s because he doesn’t want to acknowledge how businesses have added 5.2 million jobs over the past two and a half years, and that the unemployment rate is now at its lowest level since January 2009. Nor does he want to tell the truth about how he’d bring back the same policies that got us into the mess in the first place. Americans want to move forward, not back.”