SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney claimed Friday that President Barack Obama had failed to fulfill his promises in part because he does not understand what it takes to ignite a more robust economic recovery.
Resuming campaigning after a hiatus during the Democratic National Convention, Romney impugned Obama's competence, not his effort, the day after Obama accepted his party's nomination for president.
"This president tried, but he didn't understand what it takes to make our economy work. I do," Romney told 4,000 supporters at Northwest College in Orange City, the heart of Iowa's GOP-heavy west.
Entering the fall stretch to the Nov. 6 election, Romney is concentrating on Obama's performance, according to aides, to counter what they say are negative depictions of the Republican in Obama campaign ads. Some Obama ads have portrayed Romney as a wealthy businessman disconnected from working-class concerns and women's issues.
Romney said he was disappointed both in the weak August job numbers, which the Labor Department reported Friday, as well as in Obama's speech Thursday night to close the Democratic convention in Charlotte, N.C.
"I was surprised by his address because I expected him to confront the major challenge of the last four years, which is an economy that has not produced the jobs for the American people," Romney said.
Employers added a lower-than-expected 96,000 private-sector jobs in August, the Labor Department said. Unemployment fell from 8.3 percent in July to 8.1 percent last month, mainly because more people stopped looking for work.
Asked during a Fox News interview about Bill Clinton's comment that no president could have turned the economy around in four years, Romney said he could have done "a heck of a better job than this president has."