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Romney Slams Obama in Big Bank State

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Mitt Romney's campaign has opened an assault on Barack Obama in a state where the financial crisis hit big banks hard.

Romney, in a Web video released Wednesday, slammed the president's record in North Carolina, where the Democratic Party will hold its 2012 convention and where Republicans hope to win back 15 electoral votes it lost in 2008 to Obama.

The state is home to Bank of America (BAC - Get Report), BB&T (BBT - Get Report), First Citizens Bancshares (FCNCA - Get Report) and was the headquarters for the former Wachovia, which Wells Fargo (WFC - Get Report) acquired in 2008.

The video highlighted Obama's 2008 Democratic Convention address that said Democrats constituted progress by how many people could find a job to pay the mortgage and put some extra money away to pay for their children's education.

"North Carolina has lost nearly 50,000 jobs since President Obama took office," the video said. "That's over twice the size of the arena where the convention will be held."

The convention will be held in Charlotte, where Wachovia pried off its final sign in October. Though Wells Fargo employs some 20,000 to 21,000 workers, according to the Charlotte Observer, the bank has announced plans to cut 1,900 mortgage jobs, including 310 in the Carolinas.

Bank of America announced in September a massive layoff of 30,000 employees, and the Charlotte Business Journal reported this month that the company would cut 80 more jobs as it closes its Charlotte Investment Center -- part of the Merrill Edge unit.

Shares of BB&T hit more than $45 pre-crisis in 2008, but dropped to slightly above $12 months later during the worst of the recession.

Cuts in Charlotte and statewide may seem gentle compared with the nationwide numbers that Bank of America and Wells Fargo are making, but North Carolina's unemployment rate is 9.9% -- the fourth worst in the United States.

Obama won the state for Democrats for the first time since Jimmy Carter in 1976, but fragile economic growth threatens to swing it back to Republicans in 2012.

Democrats, aware of North Carolina's stature as a major financial hub and a struggling state, chose to hold its convention there. Republicans opted to host their convention in Tampa Bay, Fla., an obvious swing state that has only selected the losing presidential candidate twice since 1960.

Even without grabbing North Carolina, hypothetically, Obama would easily win re-election by duplicating his 2008 electoral map. But the fact that Republicans -- and clearly Romney -- see the state as a must-have battleground, seems to be enough reason for Democrats to pour money into it.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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