CHARLOTTE — Republicans in North Carolina continued to slam President Barack Obama for failing to turn the economy around as he promised to do during his first term.
Melanie McNamara, a North Carolina small business owner, said she would not be casting her ballot for Barack Obama, as she did in 2008. She lost faith in the president after hundreds in her local community turned out to apply for five job openings at her furniture store.
"I really wanted to believe all the change that would occur … I wanted the rejuvenation I thought would occur. It didn’t come," she said. "I don’t think President Obama knows what it’s like to run a small business."
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and four other GOP lawmakers joined McNamara to highlight the nation’s economic hardship under Obama. She acknowledged the strength of Democratic performances at Tuesday night’s convention, but believes that rhetoric cannot alter the dismal state of the economy.
"The speeches can be great, the emotions can be grabbing, but at the end of the day the average family is going to ask themselves, ‘Are we better off than we were four years ago?’" she said.
The Obama camp has made the economy a central focus of the DNC to rebut Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s contention that the president’s policies have slowed the nation’s recovery. While unemployment has remained above 8 percent for the last 42 months, Obama contends that he reversed the job losses incurred during the Great Recession.
"The Democrats need to make clear that the economy is the most important issue to Americans," Texas state Rep. Stefani Carter (R., Richardson) said. "I lived in Massachusetts under Gov. Mitt Romney and he did a great job, he created thousands of jobs."
Obama’s own surrogates have undermined his message of economic rosiness. Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who addressed the convention on Tuesday night, stated that average Americans are not doing better than they were four years ago on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday. He reversed himself on Monday.
Obama has expressed his own reservations about his economic record. Asked what grade he would give himself for the economic recovery, the president said he should receive "an incomplete" because he will need a second term.
"Speaker after speaker got up to talk about how government … is the answer," Florida state Sen. Anitere Flores (R., Miami). "We’re still reeling, so many of us in Florida, so many small business owners are still reeling."
The GOP met at the NASCAR Hall of Fame just outside of Bank of America Stadium, where Obama was scheduled to accept the party’s nomination in Democratic. The Obama campaign moved the venue inside, citing weather concerns. Former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu blamed the lackluster crowds for the move from the massive football stadium to the smaller basketball arena.
"You can’t believe a thing this administration says," he said. "Their campaign promised you rain or shine the president would be speaking there. Then when they couldn’t get a crowd they moved it inside."
The press conference marked the second day of GOP pushback during the DNC.