In a possible preview of the 2012 general election, President Obama and Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney are both scheduled to be in Philadelphia Thursday, raising money at separate events.
Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, also will reinforce his contention that Obama’s policies have made the nation’s recession worse with an afternoon press conference at a shuttered factory in Allentown that Obama once visited to tout the success of the $787 billion stimulus.
"The 2012 election is going to be a referendum on the president’s failure to turn around the economy,” Romney said in an interview Wednesday. “He’s grown detached and isolated from what people are feeling and experiencing.”
Allentown Metal Works, a steel plant, closed down Jan. 15, after several years of decline. Obama had visited the plant on Dec. 4, 2009, saying that the stimulus was helping to put people back to work. At that point, the plant had laid off a third of its work force.
In remarks after the visit, Obama praised "the extraordinary pride of the workers" at Allentown Metal Works in a project to related to rebuilding at the World Trade Center.
“And we passed the Recovery Act, which created or saved up to 1.6 million jobs, stopped our freefall, lifted our economy to the point where it’s growing for the first time in more than a year," Obama said then. "And I was just talking to the governor before we walked in and he’s got a whole series of charts about how much more steel is produced in Pennsylvania because of the Recovery Act; how much more infrastructure spending is taking place out here; putting people to work doing the work that America needs done.”
Romney's event in front of the empty factory, at 600 South 10th St. in Allentown, is scheduled for 4:10 p.m.
Earlier, Romney is holding a private breakfast and luncheon fundraisers, at the Cira Centre and Union League respectively. Obama is appearing at an afternoon reception at the Hyatt Hotel at the Bellevue and then at a dinner at David L. Cohen's house in Chestnut Hill.