Presidential Race Gets Local Focus As Obama, Romney Supporters Weigh In On Jobs, Deficit

CARSON CITY – While Mitt Romney and Barack Obama were campaigning elsewhere today, Nevada Democrats and Republicans took up the battle for the presidency on their behalf.

Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., held a telephone conference call to talk up Romney’s credentials as a “turnaround specialist” who will get the country back on track. He also criticized Obama for failing to get spending or the national deficit under control as he promised early on in his presidency.

Mitt Romney speaks at a rally in Reno in February. / Nevada News Bureau file photo.

Nevada labor officials, meanwhile, attacked Romney’s business practices while with Bain Capital, a private equity firm he headed that has been criticized for cutting jobs.

As the Las Vegas Sun reported today, between 2000 and 2002, Stage Stores, a clothing chain, shut down three stores in rural Nevada as part of a bankruptcy. The stores’ closures came after Bain Capital had sold off its interest in the company in 1999.

Romney’s time at Bain Capital and his jobs record is the subject of a new ad by the Obama campaign.

In a Reno press conference featuring Todd Koch, president of the Northern Nevada Central Labor Council, Romney’s economic philosophy was defined as: “CEOs and wealthy investors prosper by any means necessary – even when it means companies fail and workers get left behind.”

“No one here today is challenging Romney’s right to run his business as he saw fit,” Koch said. “However, this is about whether the lessons and values Romney drew from his time as a buyout specialist are the right lessons and values we want in our president. In deal after deal, Romney and his partners’ first priority was to make a personal profit regardless of the cost to others.”

Paul McKenzie, secretary treasurer of the Northern Nevada Building Trades Association, said: “The bottom line here is that Stage Store’s workers really lost out, and Romney and his partners did not. This was the quintessential case of two different sets of rules, and that’s not the kind of economy we want. Romney economics aren’t a prescription for a stronger economy and they aren’t a prescription for a stronger country.”

In his remarks, Heck said Obama’s recent comments on same sex marriage are an example of a campaign effort to avoid the real issue, which is the national debt.

“Unfortunately President Obama has no rationale to offer for his own reelection, and no record of achievement to run on in the area of debt and deficit. All he has is a record of broken promises,” Heck said. “As Mitt Romney said it’s still the economy, and we are not stupid.

“You probably remember that when he first was elected he pledged to cut the deficit in half, stating that if he was unsuccessful that this would be a one-term proposition,” Heck said. “Well instead, we’re on track to have the fourth, greater than a trillion dollar deficit this year, all under this president’s administration.”

Obama was actually referencing the economy when he made the one-term proposition comment in February 2009. But he also promised to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term.

President Obama in Reno on Friday. / Nevada News Bureau file photo.

Heck said Romney’s record of accomplishments in business, creating a successful Salt Lake City Olympics and cutting spending as the governor of Massachusetts makes him one of the most qualified candidates for president in modern history.

“This country needs a turnaround specialist, and Mitt Romney’s career has been about taking things that are failing, and turning them around, and making them successful,” he said.

Romney will simplify the tax code and cut corporate tax rates to bring business and manufacturing back to the U.S., Heck said.

In response to a question, Heck addressed Romney’s time at Bain Capital and the fact that there were some job losses.

“There will be some pain and suffering in trying to turn around the economy,” he said. “And while there may have been some jobs lost during some of those reorganizations of companies that Gov. Romney brought back from the brink, the ultimate end point was that there was a creation of more jobs than jobs actually lost,” he said. “Now those jobs may have been in a different area, and certainly that is no consolation to the person who lost the job in their home town if the job was created somewhere else.”

But he pointed to Romney’s successes with the retailers Staples and Sports Authority.

Nevada lost more than 70,000 construction jobs in the current downturn, and many of those workers have left the state and are not likely to return, Heck said.

“And that’s part of the process in trying to turn around the economy,” he said. “And I think that is what we’re going to see nationally as we try to stimulate our economy and go back to a pro-job growth economic outlook.”

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Audio clips:

Rep. Joe Heck says Obama has failed to address the federal deficit:

051512Heck1 :24 are not stupid.”

Heck says Obama promised early on in his term to cut the deficit:

051512Heck2 :20 this president’s administration.”

Heck says Romney’s time at Bain Capital resulted in more jobs created than lost:

051512Heck3 :27 created somewhere else.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andy-Falcon/100003508710262 Andy Falcon

    Romney sure is a turnaround specialist, and he’s fast too. He’s for one thing at a given time, and two hours later, he is done turning around, and is now for the exact opposite.

  • daniel155

    Careful.  People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.  The President has done some turnarounds also.  Only, he calls it “evolving.”