Lorain, Ohio (CNN) - Visiting a closed Ohio drywall factory Thursday, Mitt Romney seized on the plant's years-long shuttering to hammer home the point spelled out on a banner hanging over his head: "Obama Isn't Working."
"Had the president's economic plans worked – President Obama's plans worked – it would be open by now. But it's still empty," Romney told a crowd of supporters gathered inside the National Gypsum Company plant in Lorain, Ohio.
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"And it underscores the failure of this president's policies with regards for getting the economy going again," Romney added.
Before Romney's arrival at the factory, Democratic politicians questioned why the likely GOP nominee would select the plant as a campaign backdrop. The factory closed in 2008, when George W. Bush was president.
"What are they going blame him for next?" Lorain City Council President Joel Arredondo told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "The Titanic?"
Romney's aides defended its stage-crafting by pointing out Obama made promises to help Ohio's economy during a stop at the very same factory in 2008.
"In fact the president came here in 2008 to campaign and said it would be his policies that get it back on its feet," Romney senior strategist Eric Fehrnstrom said. "He's failed. It's been three and half years, and his policies have failed."
In fact, according to a transcript of then-candidate Obama's speech, he did not directly vow to get the plant up and running again.
"We need a president who's working as hard for you as you're working for your families. And that's the kind of president I intend to be," Obama said during his remarks.
At the time, the Democratic candidate was engaged in a bitter primary battle with Hillary Clinton. In his remarks, then-Senator Obama accused his rival of shipping American manufacturing jobs overseas through trade deals such as NAFTA. He went on to call for a robust green energy plan that would create millions of jobs for laid off factory workers.
A spokeswoman for the president's re-election campaign accused Romney of having "an aversion to the truth."
"In a speech that he concluded by saying he'd 'tell the truth,' Mitt Romney actually didn't tell the truth about President Obama's record and his own failed record in Massachusetts-all while blaming the President for a plant closing that occurred before he took office," Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith said.
Complicating Romney's message on jobs in Ohio is the state's unemployment rate, which has dropped under the president's watch from 10.8% in January 2010 to 7.6% now.
At one point in his remarks, Romney appeared to refer to the shuttered plant as a visual reminder of the president's economic record, urging supporters in the empty factory to "open your eyes" to Mr. Obama's vision for the future.
"It leads to lost jobs, lost homes, lost dreams. It's time to end that vision and have a vision of growth and jobs and economic vitality," Romney said.