EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) â¿¿ Mitt Romney attacked what he calls "an extraordinary series of policy failures" from President Barack Obama, but said Saturday that America is "poised to take off economically."
The Republican presidential contender briefly met with Indiana voters, seizing on the latest jobs report as evidence that his Democratic opponent's economic policies aren't working.
The Labor Department reported Friday that the American economy added 163,000 jobs in July, the best pace of hiring in five months. The jobless rate ticked up to 8.3 percent from 8.2 in June.
"These are real families having real hard times," Romney told dozens of supporters gathered in Stepto's BBQ Shack in Evansville. "This has been an extraordinary series of policy failures on behalf of the president."
Romney spoke for about 10 minutes before heading to a series of private fundraisers. He took a pulled-chicken sandwich to go.
Obama narrowly won Indiana four years ago, becoming the first Democrat to carry the state in more than 40 years. But recent polls suggest that Romney has the edge with Election Day three months away.
Obama celebrated his 51st birthday on Saturday and offered no public comments. His campaign released a new television ad that targets Romney's opposition to abortion rights and funding for Planned Parenthood.
Women in the ad describe Romney as extreme and out of touch. One woman suggests that the Republican wants to return to the laws of the 1950s.
The new ad will air in Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Colorado, and Nevada. The Romney campaign, meanwhile, dismissed the ad as a distraction from the previous day's jobs numbers.
"One day after the unemployment rate increased and we reached 42 consecutive months with a jobless rate greater than 8 percent, it is not surprising that the Obama campaign would release a false ad in an attempt to distract from the effects of the President's failed policies," said Romney spokesman Andrea Saul.