America is suffering because of Obama’s economic policies, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said as he made a pitch to Hispanic voters at a Miami rally.
“This party is the natural home for Hispanic Americans because this is the party of opportunity and hope," Romney said.
He went on to criticize the unemployment rate of Hispanics under President Barack Obama's administration Wednesday night.
“It’s been over 50 months that unemployment among Hispanic Americans is a bit above 10 percent. Two million more Hispanics have fallen into poverty under this president’s term – two million more," Romney said at a "Juntos Con Romney" rally in Miami.
The former Massachusetts governor said, "Americans are having a hard time. His policies have not worked."
But fresh signs of a rebounding housing market and growing support in public opinion polls boosted the Democratic incumbent's bid for a second term Wednesday.
A new AP-Gfk poll put Obama's overall approval rating among voting age adults at 56 percent – above 50 percent for the first time since May, and at its highest level since the death of Osama bin Laden in May 2011.
Romney's Miami visit comes in the wake of the newly released video that shows the nominee describing "47 percent of the people" as Obama supporters who depend on government and believe they are victims.
In the video, which was secretly taped at a May fundraiser at a home in Boca Raton, Romney said it is not his job "to worry about those people." He was referring to what he called Obama's locked-in supporters who believe they are "entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it."
After the video was released Monday, Romney conceded the comments were "not elegantly stated."
Obama spoke out about Romney's comments in a taping of the "Late Show" with David Letterman Tuesday, saying Americans are not "victims" and that voters want to make sure that their president is "not writing off big chunks of the country."
Earlier, Mitt Romney took part in a "Meet the Candidates" forum at the University of Miami's Bank United Field House that was moderated by anchors from Univision and focused on issues affecting Hispanics.
The first question was about Romney's 47 percent comments. He responded by saying he is concerned about all Americans.
“My campaign is about the 100 percent of America, and I am concerned about them. I am concerned about the fact that over the past four years life has become harder for Americans, more people have fallen into poverty," Romney said.
Obama will appear at the same forum on Thursday.
"The University of Miami is proud to be part of these important events that will address the future of education and Hispanics in the nation,” UM President Donna Shalala said in a statement. "Our students are thrilled to have the candidates for president on our campus."
The new AP-Gfk poll was taken before the Romney video emerged.
Activists with 1Miami said they planned to hold a protest against Romney's comments during the forum appearance Wednesday.
At the "Juntos Con Romney" rally, Romney acknowledged that Obama is an eloquent orator, but said his record speaks louder than his words.
“Look, he doesn’t have a plan. He is out of excuses, he’s out of ideas, and we’re going to get him out of office in November!” Romney said.
Romney appeared with his son, Craig, shortly before 9 p.m.
Craig Romney gave brief remarks in Spanish before switching to English.
“He’s been attacked left and right, as his son, it’s not easy to see that," he said of his father. But he's also gotten a lot of support, he added.
The Republican nominee referred again to a video of Obama made in 1998. Obama, then an Illinois state senator, said he believed in income redistribution, "at least to a certain level to make sure everybody's got a shot."
When Romney said Wednesday how Obama had said that he believes in redistribution, the crowd booed.
“There are people who believe that you can create a stronger economy and a brighter future if you take from some people and give to other people,” Romney continued as his audience booed some more. “Other places that have tried that haven’t done so well. That is not a philosophy that’s ever been tried here. We’re not going to have it here. We’re going to get America back to having free people pursuing their dreams in a free country!”
The Obama campaign quickly responded to his remarks.
"Despite what he said in Miami tonight, redistribution is exactly what Mitt Romney's promising to deliver if he's elected. President Obama has cut taxes for the typical middle class family by $3,600 over his first term, but Romney would raise them on the middle class by cutting deductions like those for mortgage interest, children, and charitable contributions to pay for a $250,000 tax cut for multimillionaires," Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith said in a statement. "And he'd turn Medicare into a voucher program for seniors – the very group he disparaged behind closed doors at a high-dollar fundraiser. That's not a plan to strengthen the middle class or grow our economy – it's a plan to redistribute hard-earned middle class income to those at the top."
While in Miami, Romney gave his support for freedom and democracy in Cuba and elsewhere in the world.
He plugged his five-point plan that he said would get the U.S. back on track, focusing on energy, trade, schools, a balanced budget, and small business. Romney expressed confidence that America's economy will bounce back with such a plan.