IRWIN, Penn. — Speaking to a riled-up crowd in this small town outside Pittsburgh, Mitt Romney wheeled out one new attack line after another on the president — some old favorites, others brand new — accusing Obama of "foolishness," "crony capitalism," and saying he was "ashamed" of the country's leader.
The speech was framed by a focus on failed government investments, and the accusation that Obama has been funneling taxpayer dollars his supporters. It comes amid a week of heavy scrutiny on Romney's own business record, and a increasingly loud calls from Democrats (and some Republicans) to make public more of this tax returns.
Facing charges of corruption — one Obama aide even suggested Romney had committed a felony for filing apparently conflicting documents to the FEC and SEC — the Republican responded in kind.
"I'm ashamed to say we're seeing our president hand out money to the business of campaign contributors," said Romney, adding, "Crony capitalism does not create jobs, it does not create jobs here."
He also zeroed in on a recent misstep by Obama, who said at a Virginia campaign stop last week, "“If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen." The president clarified that he was referring to education and infrastructure investments that help these businesses thrive — a fact Romney acknowledged — but the Republican didn't let him off the hook.
"To say that Steve Jobs didn't build Apple, that Henry Ford didn't build Ford Motor, that Papa John didn't build Papa John's," Romney said. "To say something like that isn't just foolishness. It's insulting to every innovator."
"I'm convinced he wants America to be ashamed of success," Romney said of Obama.
McKay Coppins is a senior writer for the BuzzFeed News politics team, and the author of The Wilderness, about the battle over the future of the Republican Party.
Contact McKay Coppins at email@example.com.
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