(Photo: REUTERS/Darren Hauck)
Mitt Romney on Friday visited North Carolina where voters approved a constitutional ban on gay marriage and civil unions by a large margin this week. But the presumptive Republican presidential nominee remained silent on the issue and attacked President Barack Obama on the economy.
"If I become president, I'm going to cut federal spending. I'm going to take some programs and get rid of them," Charlotte Observer quoted Romney as saying in his 15-minute speech to supporters inside a pipe and foundry business near downtown Charlotte.
Romney returned to North Carolina, the site of the Democratic convention this summer, three days after the marriage amendment was approved 61 percent to 39 percent Tuesday, and two days after Obama then supported same-sex marriage in an interview with ABC News on Wednesday. But the former Massachusetts governor did not address the issue seemingly because he did not want to push away the moderate middle.
Romney reminded supporters Friday that Obama had said he would measure progress on whether new jobs are being created or not. Yet, he said, there were "a record number of foreclosures … I see families really struggling. ...The right policies are going to put America back to work. Make us the economic powerhouse we've always been," he added. "Right now we're finding people across the country who are experiencing some hard times, and one of the reasons is that we had a president instilling the old liberal politics of the past."
Thursday's Gallup Poll indicated that voters trusted Romney more than Obama in handling the economy. Sixty-one percent of voters said the Republican candidate would do a good or very good job of handling the economy, compared to 52 percent who said Obama would.
Romney opposes same-sex marriage but is cautious perhaps because some of those who back him financially – including former GOP National Committee finance chairman Lewis M. Eisenberg and hedge fund manager Paul Singer – are supporters of gay marriage. Some also believe that Romney remained silent on the issue so as not to feed the controversy about his high school pranks targeting classmates who later revealed they were gay.
Romney told Fox News on Thursday, a day before his N.C. visit, "I believe that marriage has been defined the same way for literally thousands of years by virtually every civilization in history and that marriage is by its definition a relationship between a man and woman." At the same time, he said it's "fine" for gay couples to adopt children.