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Stagnant Mitt Romney campaign seeks votes, cash in Florida

Stagnant in the polls and under withering assault for flip-flopping, Republican Mitt Romney campaigned Tuesday in Miami and Tampa Bay with a simple message: President Barack Obama has failed and he won’t.

Romney, trying to sound more like Obama’s general election rival rather than a candidate struggling to lock down the GOP nomination, avoided talking about hot-button social issues like immigration or the ever-shifting primary that could see Herman Cain drop out soon. Instead the former Massachusetts governor ignored reporters’ questions and focused on the economy in a state with stubbornly high unemployment and home foreclosures and which could decide the nomination on Jan. 31.

“We have a president that doesn’t understand the power of trade for enhancing American employment and American prosperity,” Romney, with cargo ships behind him, said at the Port of Tampa before heading to a $2,500 per-person fundraiser at the Tampa Museum of Art.

Continuing a pattern for campaign stops in Florida, Romney refused to answer any questions that might steer him away from his preferred message.

“There’s not a press avail today. This is a chance to meet people,’’ the candidate said, signing autographs and posing for pictures while aides insisted reporters keep their distance.

“I think President Obama’s a nice guy. But I don’t think he understands America. I don’t think he understands our economy,” Romney said at his first stop, family-owned Conchita Foods in Medley.

Romney’s Florida visit comes at a crucial time.

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