CHARLOTTE, N.C. — President Obama lampooned the Republican National Convention as better-suited to an era of black-and-white TV and ‘‘trickle-down, you’re on your own’’ economics Saturday, and he declared that Mitt Romney ‘‘did not offer a single new idea’’ to fix the economy.
‘‘There was a lot of talk about hard truths and bold choices, but no one actually told you what they were,’’ Obama said, chuckling, as he set out on a three-day tour of battleground states in the run-up to his own convention.
Yet even the site of the Democratic convention served as an unwelcome reminder to the party of an economy so weak that it threatens his chances for reelection.
The president carried North Carolina in 2008, but the state’s unemployment rate is pegged at 9.6 percent, well higher than the nation’s 8.3 percent and tied with next-door South Carolina for fifth from the bottom.
The convention opens Tuesday at the Time Warner Cable arena with evening speeches by Michelle Obama and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, the keynote speaker.
The president will be nominated for a new term on Wednesday, when President Clinton will also speak. Vice President Joe Biden delivers his acceptance speech the same evening.
Obama’s prime-time acceptance speech, to be delivered at the outdoor Bank of America Stadium, caps the convention on Thursday night.
Democrats are taking their turn in the convention spotlight just days after the Republicans met in Tampa to nominate Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor, for the White House and congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to be vice president.
A parade of speakers in Tampa excoriated Obama’s handling of the economy, which is struggling in the weakest recession recovery of the post-World War II era. The economy has been the top-rated issue in opinion polls all year, and the president is eager to turn the focus onto Romney on that subject.
Republicans ‘‘will take us backwards,’’ Obama said, to the age of ‘‘trickle-down, you’re on your own’’ economics that begin with tax cuts for the rich but tax increases for the middle class.
The president made a brief detour to foreign policy in his speech.
‘‘Governor Romney had nothing to say about Afghanistan this week or the plans for the 33,000 troops who will have come home from the war by the end of this month,’’ he said.
The Republican challenger ‘‘said ending the war in Iraq was tragic. I said we’d end that war, and we did,’’ Obama said.
Romney said late last year, in a veterans’ round table, ‘‘The precipitous withdrawal is unfortunate. It’s more than unfortunate, I think it’s tragic. It puts at risk many of the victories that were hard won by the men and women who served there.’’
Obama, pointing to successes, declared, ‘‘I said we’d take out bin Laden, and we did.’’
His audience cheered the mention of the demise of the architect of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, who was killed in his hideout in Pakistan by US Navy SEALs last year. Obama ordered the raid, and even Republicans credit him for the decision.
Paul Ryan backs off marathon time
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Paul Ryan, facing criticism from fact checkers about his statements, is now qualifying another claim: his best marathon time.
The Republican vice presidential candidate said on the Hugh Hewitt Radio show Aug. 23 that his personal best for a 26.2-mile marathon was “under three, high twos. I had a two hour and fifty-something.”
After Runner’s World magazine reported on its website that it could not find any marathon results by Ryan, his campaign said he ran Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minn., in 4 hours, 1 minute and 25 seconds in 1990.
“If I were to do any rounding, it would certainly be to four hours, not three,” Ryan said in comments provided Saturday by his campaign spokesman.