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Romney Says Obama Doesn't Understand Business

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: I'm Ari Shapiro, traveling with the Romney campaign. After a few days of muted criticism of the president, Mitt Romney let loose in Virginia today.

MITT ROMNEY: We really can't have four more years like the last four years. I know the Obama folks are chanting four more years, four more years. But our chant is this, five more days. Five more days is our chant.


SHAPIRO: Mitt Romney's latest attack focuses on a new proposal by President Obama, who suggests consolidating many offices under one secretary of business. Romney says that won't help.

ROMNEY: I don't think adding a new chair in his Cabinet will help add millions of jobs on Main Street.

SHAPIRO: A new TV ad from the campaign makes a similar point.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: His solution to everything is to add another bureaucrat. Why not have a president who actually understands business?

SHAPIRO: And without announcing it, the campaign released another ad - this one in Spanish - that proves the truce is over.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: (Speaking foreign language)

SHAPIRO: This ad running in Florida imagines Cuba's Fidel Castro and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez as Americans. It says if they were, they would vote Obama. Yet at the same time, Romney's closing argument emphasizes bipartisanship.

ROMNEY: And to get America strong again, we have to stop the dividing and the attacking and the demonizing. We've got to reach across the aisle, bring in good Democrats with good Republicans, and finally do the people's business and put the politics behind. I will do that.


SHAPIRO: This is a change from the primaries when Romney fought to prove himself more conservative than his staunchest rivals. The message of unity appeals to the folks in this crowd, like Melba Burleson.

MELBA BURLESON: Well, I think we should be open to a good idea, you know, not just something to help one party or the other. And we've just got to work across the aisle. We've got to work better. And I think that's something Mitt Romney can do, is bring people together.

SHAPIRO: Eighty-one-year-old James Lawrence says bipartisanship is great, and it's the Democrats who need to get on board. He has particular ire for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who was recently in a car accident.

JAMES LAWRENCE: I hope he recovers, but I hope he never goes back to the Senate. I hope somebody goes to the Senate that will either take these House bills and pass them or reject them so we can go somewhere.

SHAPIRO: At this window factory in Roanoke, signs over head proclaimed, real change on day one and get out and vote, Virginia.

ROMNEY: How many of you have voted already or have knocked on a door or made a call? Wow. That is great. Thank you. Thanks, guys. Keep on battling. This is a critical place for us.

SHAPIRO: This is the second day in a row that Romney has had a trio of campaign events in a single state. Yesterday it was Florida, today Virginia. They are both states that Republicans would prefer to have locked up by now. Romney can count on one hand the number of days he has left to get it done. Ari Shapiro, NPR News, Roanoke, Virginia. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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