Obama vs. Romney in Florida: `Disappointment’ vs. `Hope’

Photograph by Chip Litherland/The New York Times via Redux

Mitt Romney supporters in Orlando, Fla.

As President Barack Obama campaigns today in Florida, Mitt Romney’s campaign welcomed him with an ad about “what a disappointment” he’s been.

Obama carried the state with 51 percent of the vote in 2008, nearly three points ahead of Republican Senator John McCain. It was places like Orlando’s Orange County, where Obama campaigns today, that put him in the White House — Obama beat McCain by 86,000 votes there.

So the Romney campaign is replaying Obama’s remarks from precisely four years ago, in Orlando, where he said: “When wages are flat, prices are rising, more and more Americans are mired in debt, our economy as a whole suffers.”

Under Obama, it says, Florida is looking at 8.6 percent unemployment, record foreclosures and 600,000 more Floridians in poverty.

Florida ranks 28th in overall economic health, according to the Bloomberg Economic Evaluation of States. It ranks fifth in mortgage delinquency, and 44th in personal income. From the first quarter of 2009, when Obama was inaugurated, through the second quarter of this year, BEES shows, personal income has grown by 2.3 percent in Florida, employment has increased by 1.1 percent.

That 8.6 unemployment cited in Florida, however, is down from a peak of 11.5 percent in February 2010. It’s one of the factors cited by Peter Brown, with the Quinnipiac Polling Institute, for the swing-state polling this week that showed Obama holding an advantage over Romney among likely voters in Florida.

There was a lot of talk in the blogosphere about that survey talking to more Democrats than Republicans. Yet, that’s what there are in Florida — 4.55 million registered with the president’s party, 4.06 million with Romney’s. The state has voted Republican — it went with both President Bush’s twice, and Democratic, with Clinton once, Jimmy Carter before him, and lastly Obama, with his campaign of “hope” and ”change.”

The poll shows one in 10 are still open to persuasion.

All of this points to a hard-fought campaign in Florida to the end.

The president “focused on Obamacare instead of jobs,” the Romney camapign ad says, in closing: “Barack Obama, what a disappointment.”



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