Romney: ‘Gap Between the Haves and Have-Nots Has Gotten Larger’ Under Obama

By Fred Lucas | August 24, 2012 | 2:37 PM EDT

FILE - In this March 5, 2012, file photo, Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, laughs with him as he campaigns at a town hall meeting at Taylor Winfield in Youngstown, Ohio. Long before Romney became the millionaire candidate from Massachusetts, he was his father' son, weeding the garden in the upscale suburb of Detroit where he grew up. He hated the chore. But he idolized the man who made him do it _ George Romney, the outspoken, no-nonsense, auto executive turned politician. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

( – Stumping in his home turf just days before the Republican National Convention, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney sought to turn President Barack Obama’s key campaign strategy against him by pointing out that the gap between rich and poor has widened during the president’s time in office.

“The gap between the haves and have-nots has gotten larger under this president not smaller,” Romney told an audience at Long Family Orchard Farm and Cider Mill in Commerce, Mich., Friday. Romney was joined on the stage by running mate Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, grew up in this Oakland County area of Michigan, and his father George Romney was Michigan governor. Still, the state leaned Democrat in most recent presidential elections, but is a key battleground state this year. The RealClearPolitics polling average has Obama up by 3.8 points.

The Obama reelection campaign has used class warfare tactics, focusing heavily on Romney’s personal wealth, his time at Bain Capital, as well as the fact that he pays a lower rate in taxes than many middle class income earners. Obama and campaign surrogates have repeatedly said Romney’s agenda would cut taxes for the rich and cut the social safety net.

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But Romney pointed out that working-class Americans were not doing well under Obama.

He recited his five-step plan for energy independence, job skills training, increasing trade, balancing the federal budget and helping small business as the antidote for producing 12 million new jobs and increasing take home pay.

“There are 23 million Americans today out of work – 23 million. Eight percent of our people are unemployed. About 15 percent are either unemployed or stopped looking for work or can’t get full-time jobs and need them,” Romney said. “Half the kids coming out of college can’t get a job or a job that’s consistent with a college degree. Half our kids -- one out of six Americans -- has fallen into poverty. The gap between the haves and have-nots has gotten larger under this president, not smaller.

“Small banks going out of business or shrinking,” Romney continued. “The big banks are getting bigger and bigger. This president’s policies haven’t worked. It’s important we get America back on the right track so we can get those people back to work so our kids will know that when they finish school they’ve got a good job waiting for them. So we can pull people out of poverty and build a bigger middle class with rising take home pay.”