ORLANDO, Florida — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney brought his roadshow to Orlando on Tuesday – touting job creation and repeal/replacement of Obamacare as his main issues.
Romney began his speech saying that President Obama was “out-of-touch” with the economy, especially in light of his statements last Friday that the “private sector is doing fine.” Romney noted that the American economy only experienced a 1.9% in the last quarter and claimed that nearly 15% of Americans are either unemployed, underemployed, or doing only part-time work.
But Romney saved most of his speech to attack President Obama’s signature legislative victory – The Affordable Care Act. Romney said – as he has many times – that on the first day of his administration he would “effectively repeal ObamaCare by granting waivers to all 50 states.”
|Mitt Romney With Drew Parker |
He then went a step further and outlined his plans for its replacement, which he said was essential so that Americans would have access to good health care.
Romney said that states need to be in control in dealing with the problems of he uninsured. He cited his support for the 10th Amendment and said that the federal government should provide Medicaid funds to the states with “no strings attached.”
He also said that health insurance should be a part of the consumer market, like cars and tires. This would keep “the costs down and the quality up.” Romney noted that his reforms would allow individuals that buy health insurance to claim tax exempt status just as employer-based insurance programs do.
Romney did say that parts of ObamaCare should be maintained – including exceptions for pre-existing conditions and portability when one changes jobs or moves. He added that businesses and individuals should be allowed to buy insurance “across state lines to search for the most reasonable rates.”
Romney also said that Obama was the leader who had cut $500 billion from Medicare and that Republicans all over needed to remind seniors of this. He said that his reforms would allow retirees to either opt in to Medicare or invest in their own retirement. “Choice is the right option,” he said.
Many in the crowd echoed Romney’s concern over the lackluster growth and jobs picture. And they liked Romney’s background and experience in business.
16-year-old Winter Park High School junior James Doyle said that Romney has business experience and Obama does not. “The president hasn’t turned around the economy as he promised. He himself said it would be a one-term proposition if he didn’t.”
Paul Urshan, a 75 year-old retired executive with Mobil Oil said, “He [Romney] has shown success in the private sector and created jobs with Bain Capital. That story needs to be told truthfully. I support him because he is a successful man, a self-made man, and a family man.”
Heather Post, founder and director of a Daytona-based small business called the Etiquette Seed that provides leadership and etiquette classes for kids and teens, said she drove over to “see more of what he has to say.” Post was excited that Romney spoke so much about his plans to help small businesses grow.
Romney touched on other issues as well. He said that he has come to understand that Obama’s call for an all-of-the-above energy strategy must mean that the president only wants “energy that is above the ground” citing what he called “Obama’s cutbacks on oil coal production.”
Highlighting a veteran in the front row, Romney recalled a meeting he had on Memorial Day with a Pearl Harbor survivor. He said younger Americans must now lift the torch of freedom that was once “carried by the greatest generation as they cannot lift it quite as high anymore.”
Touching briefly on foreign policy, he said that Obama wants us to be more like Europe, but “even Europe doesn’t work in Europe.”
Romney spoke before a crowd of about 500 people at Con-Air Industries – a company that manufactures and distributes HVAC filtration products.