Mitt Romney went back on the attack on Thursday in Virginia, criticizing President Obama for suggesting the creation of a new Cabinet position, a secretary of business.
“I don’t think adding a new chair in his Cabinet will help add millions of jobs on Main Street,” Romney said, speaking at a window and door company.
“We don’t need the secretary of business to understand business,” he added. “We need a president who understands business, and I do. And that’s why I’ll help be able to get this economy going again.”
Thursday was Romney’s second day on the trail since Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of the East Coast but his first in full campaign mode. At three events in Florida on Wednesday, the Republican presidential nominee avoided criticizing Obama directly and did not mention the president by name.
Obama spent Wednesday afternoon inspecting hurricane damage in New Jersey with the state’s Republican governor, Chris Christie, and resumed campaigning on Thursday.
Romney’s business critique on the stump mirrored an ad his campaign released earlier in the day, which also pans Obama for his proposed secretary of business.
“His solution to everything is to add another bureaucrat,” a narrator says in the ad. “Why not have a president who actually understands business?”
In an interview that aired Monday on MSNBC, Obama said he would like to consolidate several commerce-related government agencies.
“We should have one secretary of business, instead of nine different departments that are dealing with things like giving loans to [the Small Business Association] or helping companies with exports,” Obama said. “There should be a one-stop shop.”
Romney has presented his business acumen as the number one reason why voters should elect him. The founder and former chief executive of Bain Capital, a Boston-based private equity firm, has invested in and helped to steer companies in a wide range of industries.
But the Obama campaign has sought to undercut Romney’s claim that his private sector experience translates to public office. As governor of Massachusetts, Romney inherited a state economy that was losing jobs and left office with jobs growing, but the Obama campaign emphasizes that, overall, the Bay State ranked 47th in the country in job creation during Romney’s four-year term.
“The idea that Mitt Romney would help businesses grow as president doesn’t match his record or his policies,” Lis Smith, an Obama campaign spokeswoman, said in a statement responding to Romney’s appearance in Roanoke.Callum Borchers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @callumborchers.