Romney to Obama: "Not so fast"

Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks to supporters at his Nevada caucus night victory celebration in Las Vegas, Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012.
AP Photo/Julie Jacobson
Mitt Romney
AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

LAS VEGAS -- Strong economic numbers this week may turn out to boost President Obama's re-election prospects, but in his victory speech in hard hit Nevada tonight, Mitt Romney swiped -- "Not so fast, Mr. President."

In front of a revved up crowd, Romney criticized Mr. Obama for "trying to take a bow" for the unemployment rate dropping to 8.3 percent in the report released yesterday.

"This is the 36th straight month with unemployment above the red line your own administration drew," he said, addressing Mr. Obama. "And if you take into account all the people who are struggling for work or who have just stopped looking, the real unemployment rate is over 15 percent."

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Tailoring his remarks specifically to the people of Nevada, Romney addressed how he deems the president has slighted them.

"Four years ago, candidate Obama came to Nevada, promising to help. But after he was elected, his help was telling people to skip coming here for conventions and meetings. Today, Nevada unemployment is over 12 percent, home values have plummeted, and Nevada's foreclosure rate is the highest in the nation," Romney said. "I've walked in Nevada neighborhoods, blighted by abandoned homes, where people wonder why Barack Obama failed them."

Unlike in his other post-primary speeches, which have seen Romney both congratulate his competitors or taking swipes at them, he made no mention tonight of Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum or Ron Paul on Saturday night. The closest reference he made to any of them was a backhanded acknowledgement that he would do a better job than any of them.

"Like his colleagues in the faculty lounge who think they know better, President Obama demonizes and denigrates almost every sector of our economy. I will make America the most attractive place in the world for entrepreneurs, for innovators, and for job creators. And unlike the other people running for President, I know how to do that," he said.

How Romney won in Nevada
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According to CBS News entrance polls, 56 percent of voters had decided who to cast their ballots for before 2012, and the economy was far and away the most important issue to those who cast a vote.

Romney, a Mormon, had wide support and a strong ground game for months in the Silver State, which has a sizable Mormon population. Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams pointed out in an email that while Mormon voters made up 26 percent of caucus-goers, without their support, Romney still would have won "decisively" -- by 17 points.

Additionally, according to Williams, "While Mitt Romney won a majority of the LDS vote, he won among Protestants, Catholics and everybody else by wide margins."

"Once again, you have given me your vote of confidence," Romney told the hundreds in the room, referring to his win in Nevada in 2008. "And this time, I intend to take it all the way to the White House."

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