Greetings from RIDC park in O'Hara. Mitt Romney comes to the suburbs north of Pittsburgh today after (presumably) his private meeting with Rick Santorum, which Jim O'Toole sets up here. (Romney said this morning on Fox that he doesn't expect an endorsement from Santorum today, but "you're going to see us all come together.") While he was still in the campaign Santorum said some awkward things about the former Massachusetts governor, largely about health care and the economy, and today labor unions and the Obama adminstration filled in the rest, trying to lambaste him on middle class economic issues.
The Romney camp, meanwhile, is hitting Obama on the latest job report, which shows a bit of growth but not enough to lower the unemployment rate, which at 8.2% is staying at a three-year low:
"President Obama has broken countless promises during his time in office – but none more important than his promise to help create jobs and get our economy moving again. From green jobs that never materialized to an unemployment rate that has remained above 8% for thirty-nine straight months, President Obama's rhetoric simply doesn't match with his failed economic record," said Andrea Saul, Romney's spokesperson.
About 20 union members (from the Steelworkers, Operating Engineers, AFL-CIO and others) gathered in front of the Sauereisen construction materials company this sunny morning to hit him on several issues, including his opposition to the auto industry bailout. The group was joined by the chair of Allegheny County's Democratic committee, Nancy Mills. "If they had listen to Romney on the economy, we would have lost Detroit," she said.
Romney will get a better reception inside the specialty concrete company, which should be packed with Republican partisans. In the meantime, the DNC and the AFL-CIO are doing their best too to pull out the Pittsburgh welcome mat from Romney's feet.
"Mitt Romney is wrong for working Pennsylvanians and he can't escape the positions he took in the primary. The AFL-CIO will hold him accountable," said spokesman Yuri Beckelman. The labor group (which has 900,000 members in the state) issued a long report card on Romney's past statements on labor and working class issues, and the Obam issued a memo (and the video above) on Santorum's past statements on his former primary foe.
"So, to summarize," said the memo from Brad Woodhouse of the Democratic National Committee, "Rick Santorum thinks based on Mitt Romney's failed jobs and economic record in Massachusetts that America would be in trouble with him at the helm, that his time as a corporate raider is definitely NOT what Americans are looking for in a president, that it's unfair that Mitt Romney pays a lower tax rate than many middle class Americans and that Mitt Romney should release his tax returns. Senator, we couldn't agree more. All this ought to make for an interesting meeting."