Image: Mitt Romney
Shannon Stapleton  /  Reuters
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign rally in a downpour in Newport News, Virginia October 8, 2012.
NBC News
updated 10/9/2012 12:08:15 PM ET 2012-10-09T16:08:15

Mitt Romney resurrected one of his favorite attack lines against the president's economic stewardship on Monday, hitting President Barack Obama for 43 months of unemployment above eight percent, despite Friday's new data indicating the rate had finally fallen below that well-worn attack.

"We've seen the slowest recovery from a recession in history," Romney told a rain-soaked crowd of 500 supporters here on Monday. "As a matter of fact, I just read that if you look back 60 years, and you look at all the months we had with unemployment about 8 percent before President Obama, there were 39 months in all 60 years with unemployment above 8 percent."

Confident Obama encourages supporters to be 'obsessive'

"With this president, there have been 43 months under one president alone," Romney continued. "He does not understand what it takes to create a real recovery. I do."

The remarks came as Romney rushed through his second public appearance of the day, a rally at a park in Newport News, that the campaign chose to begin early and cut short due to a downpour that showed no sign of abating.

Romney gushed over the crowd, who cheered him as he hit on his economic talking points, as well as two of the three more personal anecdotes he began telling this weekend.

GOP optimistic about poll showing Romney lead

“People wonder why it is I’m so confident we’re going to win," Romney said. "I’m confident because I see you here on a day like this. This is unbelievable! Thank you so much! "

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Video: Race tightens four weeks to election day

  1. Closed captioning of: Race tightens four weeks to election day

    >> presidential race and a new poll showing mitt romney now leading president obama . we'll talk about that with senator john mccain in just a couple of minutes, but first nbc's peter alexander is on the campaign trail in newport news, virginia . peter, good morning.

    >> reporter: matt, good morning to you. as you noted, this race appears to be tightening now with exactly four weeks to go, and on monday mitt romney , trying to present himself as a plausible commander in chief, attacked the president saying that the middle east has become a more dangerous place than when president obama took office. the latest pit stop in president obama 's effort to reach his fund-raising goal of $1 billion, san francisco .

    >> we cannot afford to be complacent, and we cannot afford to be cynical. we've got to look back at the progress we've made, and that should give us confidence, but we have to understand that we've got a lot more to do.

    >> reporter: in virginia , a reinvigorated mitt romney may as we will have been singing in the rain , a downpour.

    >> people wonder why it is i'm so confident we're going to win. i'm confident because i see you here on a day like this. this is unbelievable. thank you so much!

    >> reporter: romney may have new reason for new confidence, passing out mcdonald's to reporters on his plane and greeting two elementary school students. two national polls show a volatile race after last week's lobsided debate. in the latest pew poll the republican nominee leads the president by four points among likely voters. last month the same poll showed romney trailing by eight points. still, a new gallup poll shows mr. obama five points ahead among registered voters , regaining ground after last week's encouraging jobs report. looking to beef up his foreign policy credentials ahead of the final stretch, romney accused the president of weak leadership in the middle east . failing to capitalize on the arab spring uprisings and delivering the harshest response yet on the administration's response to the deadly attacks in libya.

    >> it is our responsibility and the responsibility of the president to use america's greatest power to shape history, not to lead from behind, leaving our destiny at the mercy of events.

    >> reporter: calling for a change of course, romney offered few new policy details, citing syria's civil war , romney saying he would support our allies arming rebels there. former secretary of state madeleine albright gave the obama campaign 's rebuttal.

    >> i'm a professor. if one of my students turned it in they'd get a "c" because he gave absolutely no specifics.

    >> it's getting close here in michigan. can you help push us over the top .

    >> reporter: ahead of this week's vice presidential debate on monday paul ryan attacked what he considered the democrat strategy.

    >> it seems pretty clear that their new strategy is basically just call us liars, to descend down into a mud pit and hopefully, with enough mudslinging back and forth and distortion, people will get demoralized and then they can win by default.

    >> reporter: and to give you a sense of what some may describe as the absurd back and forth in this election season, take a look at this. this is a new ad just out this morning from the obama campaign . it mocks mitt romney 's plan to eliminate federal subsidies for public broadcasting , sarcastically calling big bird a, quote, menace to our economy, matt, on the level of bernie madoff.

    >> all right. peter alexander in virginia this morning. peter, thank you very much. republican senator


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