Romney focused on economic message while stumping in Jacksonville

ADVERTISEMENT
"This nation is headed in a direction that makes us weaker and makes it harder to create jobs. We can take a different path," he added.

Romney spoke in front of a rolling federal deficit clock — mostly obscured by supporters during his speech — that tallies increases to the national debt. As a pouring rain drenched some supporters outside of the covered area where Romney spoke, the candidate argued that government should do more to promote economic growth.

"I want to make this the most attractive place in the world for small business, and medium business, and big business," Romney said. "This isn't rocket science, it's leadership."

The crowd was lively — an encouraging sign for Romney in Florida, a crucial swing state that the presumptive Republican nominee will need to win in order to take back the Oval Office. A Suffolk/7News poll released last week showed Obama leading Romney by a single percentage point in the state.

At one point, Romney went over to speak to a female supporter in the crowd whom he initially believed would comment on energy policy. Instead she attempted to hand Romney a check for a campaign contribution.

"Oh! That's a check. We'll get to this later," Romney said to chuckles. "Happens to me every day."

As the crowd laughed and applauded, Romney went back to give the potential donor a hug and ordered a campaign staffer to retrieve the check.

"Anybody else?" he asked with a wry smile.

Romney heads to New Hampshire next for a campaign event Friday afternoon.