Sioux City, Iowa (CNN) – Mitt Romney fired back against Democrats Friday, the morning after being skewered by the president and top party officials on the closing night of the Democratic National Convention.
The GOP nominee, who emerged Friday from five days spent largely behind closed doors preparing for the upcoming presidential debates, accused President Obama of using his convention speech to recycle old promises instead of offering new ideas to turn around the economy.
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"There's certainly nothing that he said last night that gives the American people confidence he knows what he would do to create jobs or build a stronger economy," Romney told reporters during a press conference on an airport tarmac in Sioux City. "I think that the message from last night was that the president's plan is four more years of the four last years, and I don't think the American people want four more years of the four last years."
While political pundits overwhelmingly gave Democrats kudos for holding a livelier convention, Romney immediately claimed the political advantage Friday with the release of new unemployment numbers that showed the economy was stagnant.
He expressed satisfaction in his own convention, held in Tampa, Florida a week earlier, even though it did not result in a substantial bump in the polls.
"I'm very pleased that people got to know me better," Romney said in response to a question about his small bounce in the polls. "Those that took the time to watch and to listen in depth to the things that were said in the convention, I think, got a better picture of what I stand for and what I'd do to get America working again."
The Republican nominee – who on Wednesday told reporters he did not plan to watch the president's convention address – slapped back at Obama over a dig on Romney's foreign trip this summer.
On Thursday Obama quipped that his opponent "might not be ready for diplomacy with Beijing" given the uproar he caused in London this July by publicly questioning whether the city was prepared to hold the Olympics.
Romney turned that jab around Friday by echoing his Republican predecessor, Sen. John McCain.
"I'm very pleased that my Olympic experience allows me to talk about the Olympics in a straight talk manner," Romney said. "And I think it would be appropriate if the president would talk to China in a straight talk manner."
Romney also faced more questions about why he did not mention the war in Afghanistan during his own convention speech. He repeated the same response he gave a day earlier, pointing to his speech at the American Legion convention in Indianapolis the day before he took the convention floor.
"I took time out from our convention to go to the American legion and speak to our veterans and speak about our commitment in Afghanistan and elsewhere," Romney said. "The president apparently didn't have time to go to the American legion as I did."