Grand Junction, Colorado (CNN) – Mitt Romney challenged Democratic claims that the private equity firm he once headed had actively advised companies to outsource jobs, and turned the criticism back on President Barack Obama calling him the "outsourcer in chief" Tuesday.
Speaking before an energetic crowd in friendly territory of Mesa County, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee addressed negative attacks in ads about his corporate background in his opening remarks, rather than wait for a question to be asked during the question and answer portion of the town hall.
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"If there's an outsourcer in chief, it's the president of the United States, not the guy who's running to replace him," Romney said to thunderous applause in a packed high school gym.
Romney joins Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus in blasting Obama over his record of "outsourcing."
"President Obama has promised over and over that he would focus on creating 'jobs that pay well and can't be outsourced' but his record speaks otherwise," Priebus said in a statement. "The Outsourcer-In-Chief is going around the country touting his 'jobs record,' but the only positive record he has is creating jobs in faraway places like Finland and South Korea."
Both lines of attack correlate with separate Washington Post articles. Last month, the Post published a story outlining what it said was a record of Romney being a "pioneer" in outsourcing while at Bain Capital, the firm he helped start. The Democrats have used the report as fodder for a week's worth of criticism of Romney.
Meanwhile, a Washington Post report from Tuesday, details unfulfilled Obama promises to overhaul the tax code to discourage companies from moving jobs overseas. This is the report Romney and the RNC are now leveraging against Obama.
Colorado, a crucial swing state that Obama won by nine points in 2008, has become a hotbed for political ads with both parties having spent nearly $9 million in the state alone. Romney addressed the ads that go after the outsourcing claim and criticize Romney for putting money in offshore accounts.
Romney referred to a fact-check group that found the claims in the ad to be false and misleading.
"It is interesting that when it comes to outsourcing, that this president has been outsourcing a good deal of American jobs himself," Romney said.
Prior to the town hall, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers told reporters Romney needs to stay on message on the economy and not get wrapped up in attacks about his personal finances.
"These folks don't care about the Cayman Islands investments," Suthers said. "They care about their own jobs, their own lives, and they're hurting and there's no question about it."