U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio said Wednesday that President Barack Obamas policies have led to the economy growing at an anemic rate, and voters should decide whether he deserves a four-year extension.
The Florida Republican spoke at a rally for the Romney-Ryan ticket that drew more than 200 people to a steel manufacturing plant near the airport in west Charlotte part of a series of dueling events held during the day by the two campaigns.
Rubio said the GOP campaign is fighting to save the kind of country that would create companies like SteelFab and help them grow.
If taxes are too expensive, he said, it could discourage people from investing and starting new businesses. He also called for a more competitive, simpler tax code and regulatory measures to help boost the economy.
Likening Obamas record to sports, Rubio said if he had a coach who produced four losing seasons, he wouldnt offer him a four-year extension.
Rubios speech came a few hours after the Obama campaign held a news conference at an energy company in SouthEnd to tout the presidents 2009 stimulus program. Officials from Calor said that with the stimulus the company helped municipalities and other clients win $2.5 million in energy grants.
It helped us jump-start our company, Calor managing partner Lisa Lee Morgan told reporters.
Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, who has acted as a surrogate for the Obama campaign, said the company shows that the stimulus program worked. It speaks to the most fundamental issue in this election, he said. Who is going to build an economy built to last?
Wednesdays jobs duel comes days after a new report showed North Carolinas unemployment rate rose to 9.7 percent in August. Thats the fifth-highest rate in the country.
The competing events reaffirmed North Carolinas standing as a battleground state in November. Also Wednesday, the Obama campaign announced that Vice President Joe Biden would return to the Queen City next week.
In an interview, Rubio said he believes North Carolina will remain important in every election of his lifetime, in part because of the states huge haul of 15 electoral votes.
Asked about polls that show Mitt Romney losing ground in states such as Ohio and Florida, Rubio said the polls have new data every day.
You can drive yourself crazy reading all these polls or you could just focus on the fundamentals, Rubio said. Do people want four more years of the stuff that hasnt worked?
Rubio said he is looking forward to the Oct. 3 debate between Obama and Romney, saying itll offer the first chance for voters to hear from both candidates without the media filter.
Its the first time that well be able to take the measure of both men and I think itll be abundantly clear that on that stage theres only one of the two men that understands free enterprise and his name is Mitt Romney, Rubio said.
Also Wednesday, Romney released a new ad in North Carolina in which he says, Too many Americans are struggling to find work in todays economy.