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Obama, Romney go head-to-head in Philadelphia

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama
CBS/Getty Images

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is confronting President Obama on the economy today, visiting a closed-down factory that Mr. Obama himself once held up as an example of a company on the mend.

And before Romney holds a news conference at Allentown Metal Works in Pennsylvania this afternoon, he'll be in Philadelphia for fundraising events -- just hours before Mr. Obama attends his own Philadelphia fundraising events.

Ahead of his visit to Allentown Metal Works, Romney's campaign released a video this morning highlighting the fact that Mr. Obama visited the factory in December 2009. At the time, the president predicted his stimulus package would help the company recover from the economic downturn.

The video features clips of Mr. Obama touting his visit there, and a news broadcast about the factory's closure. Statistics flash across the screen, showing that more than 100,000 jobs have been lost in Pennsylvania since 2009. The metal works plant closed in January of this year after its business dried up, unpaid bills accumulated, and the number of production line employees dwindled down to five, the Allentown Morning Call reported.

Romney's news conference at Allentown Metal Works will take place around 4 p.m. today.

At about the same time, Mr. Obama plans to appear at a set of Democratic National Committee fundraisers. First, he'll attend a reception at the Hyat hotel, and then he'll attend a dinner at the home of Comcast executive David Cohen.

Romney's Philadelphia-focused attack illustrates the way the former Massachusetts governor plans to make his presidential campaign all about the economy. When he launched his campaign in New Hampshire earlier this month, he pointed to several lagging economic indicators he called "President Obama's own misery index."

"The 2012 election is going to be a referendum on the president's failure to turn around the economy," Romney said said in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer. "He's grown detached and isolated from what people are feeling and experiencing."

Romney, who is the frontrunner in most GOP presidential polls, has on a number of occasions reached out to local media in the markets where Mr. Obama was visiting -- a strategy that shows the Republican is already looking past the primaries to the general election.

Attorney Charles Kopp, chairman of Romney's campaign in Pennsylvania, told the Inquirer, "In my view, the Republican primary voters will soon begin to focus on electability rather than philosophy, and when that happens, Mitt Romney will emerge as the party's nominee with an excellent chance to become our next president."