As President Barack Obama prepared to deliver a major economic speech in Cleveland, Ohio, Mitt Romney was on the opposite side of the state, trashing Obama's talk on the economy as "cheap" and urging Americans to judge the president by his "actions" not his words.
"If you think things are going swimmingly … then he's the guy to vote for," Romney told supporters at an aluminum factory in Cincinnati.
But the Republican nominee argued that Obama hasn't delivered on his 2008 promise to turn the economy around and insisted that "almost everything" his administration has done has instead made it harder for businesses to create jobs.
"Talk is cheap," Romney said. "But actions speak very loud. If you want to see the results of his economic policies, look at Ohio and look around the country. … What he says and what he's done are not always the same exact thing."
Romney's remarks weren't dramatically new. With a few minor exceptions, the GOP candidate stuck largely to his regular stump speech. But the optics around his Ohio event were clearly aimed at stealing some of Obama's thunder, as the president prepared to deliver what the White House described as a major economic address.
While Romney's speech was originally set to begin five minutes after Obama took the stage in Cleveland, his campaign moved up the start time by 15 minutes, in hopes of getting more television coverage.
Romney, who spoke without a teleprompter, argued that when judging the impact of Obama's policies, all Americans have to do is ask businesses around the country if they are better off than they were when the president took office.
"Go check on that," Romney instructed. "Go talk to small employers and big employers in your community. … Talk to the people you know."
The GOP candidate "predicted" the answer would be that Obama's policies haven't helped. Preemptively rebutting the president's speech, Romney summed up what he believed would be Obama's message: "Give me four more years, even though I didn't get it done in the first three and a half," Romney said.
He argued that Obama has been "long on words and short on actions" when it comes to creating new jobs.
And in a nod to critics who say he hasn't been specific enough about his goal if elected, Romney said, "To me, it's all about good jobs for the American people."