Charlotte, North Carolina (CNN) – Twenty weeks before and less than a mile away from the site of the Democratic National Convention, Mitt Romney said that this time around, President Obama would not be able to repeat any part of his 2008 convention speech.
As the Bank of America stadium and convention site towered nearby, the presumptive GOP nominee criticized the president Wednesday for falling short on his campaign promises.
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"We're a trusting people, we're a hopeful people, but we're not dumb," Romney said. "It's time that we've learned who Barack Obama is and what he's capable of doing, that he's over his head and he's swimming in the wrong direction."
Romney pointed to an array of economic indicators – unemployment, small business growth, even the country's fiscal future – which he said have suffered under Obama's presidency.
And, though the campaign's elaborate outdoor, made-for-TV photo-op in front of the convention site was forced inside by a rainstorm Wednesday, Romney took a shot at the widely-mocked Greek-style columns that framed Obama during his Denver convention speech in 2008.
"One thing I am convinced that you are not going to see at the Democratic Convention," Romney said. "You are not going to see President Obama standing alongside Greek columns. He is not going to want to remind anybody of Greece."
Meanwhile, a new poll showed Romney's numbers has rebounded after all-but-securing the nomination and he was tied with Obama in a head-to-head matchup. But the former Massachusetts governor still faces an uphill battle against Obama when voters are asked which man is more likeable.
Romney seemed to nod to that likeability gap and promote his own message of economic turnaround.
"Even if you like Barack Obama, we can't afford Barack Obama," he said.
The presidential candidate heads next to Ohio, where he will rebut Obama's Wednesday speech in the crucial swing state.
On a Romney campaign conference call, a press spokesman said the appearances in Charlotte and Cleveland were part of a deliberate strategy.
"We're going to be waging a very vigorous campaign to highlight the clear and sharp contrast between Gov. Romney's understanding of the economy, his pro-jobs policy and this president's failed three years in office," said Ryan Williams.