Romney adviser: 23 million reasons to vote for Mitt

(CBS News) Eric Fehrnstrom, senior adviser to Mitt Romney, said Sunday that the president's economic policies are not working, especially for the unemployed, and that his candidate's record will attract those who have had difficulty finding work.

"Here's a number you're going to hear a lot on this campaign: 23 million," Fehrnstrom said on "Face the Nation," referring to 12.7 million unemployed, 7.7 million underemployed and more than 3 million Americans who are discouraged from finding work or have dropped out of the job search, according to the latest numbers by the Department of Labor.

Fehrnstrom said Romney's record as governor and experience in the private sector, including as a partner and co-founder of venture capital firm Bain Capital, makes him better equipped to deal with the economy.

"People are looking for someone with capability to lead during some very challenging times," Fehrnstrom told host Bob Schieffer. "I think the best thing we have going for us is a candidate with a strong pro-jobs message."

Fehrnstrom acknowledged that the president isn't responsible for the economic downturn, but said it became his responsibility in 2009. "We all know that President Obama didn't create this recession, but his policies are not working for (those) 23 million people," he said.

Moreover, Fehrnstrom pushed back on a common line of President Obama's, that voters will have a clear choice between two opposing visions come November, and that the Democrats' will be more attractive than the Republican vision.

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"Incumbent presidents don't get to run on visions; they have records that they have to run on," Fehrnstrom said. "And we're going to hold him accountable to that."

Fehrnstrom did not seem troubled when asked to respond to a recent Wall Street Journal poll in which respondents found President Obama to be more likeable than Mitt Romney - 54 percent vs. Romney's 18 percent.

"I can tell you that [Romney] is a man of integrity and character, and I think over the course of the next seven months of the campaign, Americans are going to see that, too," he said.

"We're just starting off now on the general election campaign. It's going to be a long road, seven months," Fehrnstrom added.

  • Leigh Ann Caldwell On Twitter»

    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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