Tonight's pool report:
Mitt Romney spoke to about 150 donors at the Biltmore Hotel where he was introduced by Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and former Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart, who praised the Republican presidential candidate as the “clear leader” the nation needs.
“Gosh,” Romney gushed before his 13-minute speech. “You really ought to be in Congress again. “The energy. The Cuban American energy and passion is so wonderful.”
Romney thanked the room for helping turn his fortunes in the Republican primary in January.
“You delivered the state that I had to win. You may recall, things were looking a little shaky coming into Florida,” Romney said.
“You’ve got to do that again and again and again. And you’ve got to get people out to vote,” he said. “Florida could well be a make-it-or-break-it state.”
Romney wasn’t too personal in criticizing President Obama and offered few specifics about how he’d turn the country around.
One of Obama’s biggest failures, Romney said, was his inability to lead in Washington.
“The number of Senators who voted for the Obama budget was zero. Not in his own party. Not in our party,” Romney said. “He has shown a remarkable lack of leadership…. This is an individual who has not been in a leadership capacity before and is learning on the job. This vote is another example of people in Washington seeing that this president can not get the job done.”
Romney repeatedly invoked debt-soaked Greece
“If you keep a trillion more every year than you take in, then you get to the point of being Greece,” he said.
“Promises made that have not been funded total $60 trillion. It’s Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. And after three and a half years, we have a president who hasn’t offered any suggestions about how to solve that problem.”
Romney also faulted Obama over the state of the nation’s schools.
“Our schools are failing. Florida is doing pretty darn well. You’ve made progress over the years. Overall as a nation we’re well behind the other developed nations,” Romney said.
“We have a president who unfortunately is so linked to the organized teachers unions that he can’t do what he has to know is right,” Romney said, failing to mention that the president last year joined former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush to advocate for school reforms opposed by some teacher unions.
Romney stopped short of blaming Obama for high gas prices, but he said the president is too focused on wind and solar power instead of extracting fossil fuels. Coupled with the threat of high taxes and regulations that he didn’t specify, Romney said Obama’s policies will kill jobs.
“We’re going to have employers leave in droves because they can’t afford energy and the relative high cost of labor and taxes. He’s making America less competitive,” Romney said.
“If I’m president, I’ll get our schools working. I’ll take advantage of our energy resources, I’ll get our labor policies to encourage the development of skills for our workforce so they can fulfill the jobs of today and tomorrow. And I’ll finally do what’s got to be done with the budget. I’m going to get America on track to have, believe it or not, a balanced budget. We’re going to stop spending more than we take in
Year in and year out so we never have to worry becoming like Greece. This nation is poised for an extraordinary comeback.”
Romney said the president is trying to shift the focus of the campaign away from the economy.
“One of the things that’s been most disappointing to me over these last several months is watching this president divide America,”’ Romney said. In the interest of his reelection he’s trying to find some way to talk about something other than his record and to find someone else to blame for the challenges people feel.”
Romney thanked those in the room for their help
“You’re not doing it for me. You’re doing it for the country. That’s why I’m doing this.
I love America,”
I’m going to get Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security solvent. I can tell you that we’re going to take advantage of our energy resources and open up our trade with other nations – particularly, by the way, Latin America,” Romney said.
He didn’t offer specifics on that. He had to go to yet another fundraiser, at the home of pharmaceutical kingpin Phil Frost on Star Island.