By TOM RAUM, Associated Press
Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney is showcasing his private-sector experience and trying to persuade voters his business savvy makes him the best suited to lift the economy out of its long funk.
Romney also reinforces Republican doctrine that President Barack Obama is "out of touch with what's happening across America."
He argues Obama's policies on health care, energy, trade and other issues have made it harder for businesses to grow and hire new workers and amount to an "anti-business, anti-job agenda."
"The president and his folks just don't understand how the private sector works," Romney said in a speech Wednesday in Washington to the Business Roundtable, clearly a receptive audience.
Obama offers a flip side of Romney's argument for himself:
—Romney may have business smarts, but was a job-destroying corporate raider in his business life at Bain Capital, the private-equity firm he co-founded.
—He flopped on jobs as Massachusetts governor, with his state averaging 47 out of 50 states in job creation during his single term.
—Rather than being industry-friendly, the son of a former auto company CEO publicly advocated requiring Detroit automakers to follow the regular bankruptcy process rather than offering them a federal life preserver.
— Romney has aligned himself with congressional Republicans who are blocking presidential job-creating and small-business initiatives.
At least that's the gospel of Romney according to Obama.
"Gov. Romney is a patriotic American, he's got a lovely family and he should be proud of his personal success. But his ideas are just retreads of stuff that we have tried and that have failed," Obama told a Philadelphia fundraiser.
The president was attending an in-town fundraiser Wednesday and presenting Israeli President Shimon Peres with the Medal of Freedom at a White House dinner. He'll resume his attack on Romney's economic plans in Cleveland on Thursday.
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EDITOR'S NOTE _ With 146 days left until Election Day, here are insights into today's highlights in U.S. politics
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