By Dustin Hurst | Watchdog.org
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The contrast between Republicans and Democrats couldn’t be more apparent this week — and that’s just want Republicans want.
While Democrats spend their convention time here in the Queen City talking abortion, contraception and gay rights issues, Republicans continue to hammer away at President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy.
Melanie McNamara of High Point, N.C., fully embodies the GOP’s strategy in their counter-convention push, staged each day this week at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in uptown Charlotte.
She’s a business owner who said she supported Obama in 2008, but will flip to support Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in November’s general election.
McNamara, who runs furniture manufacturing company employing 30 people, fits the narrative Republicans want to push: A women who cares more about the economy, jobs and putting food on the table than the divisive social issues Democrats seek to drive into public discourse this election season.
The business owner said she placed her faith in Obama in hopes of an American small town revival.
“I really wanted to believe all the change that would occur for towns for like High Point,” McNamara told reporters Wednesday. “I wanted all the rejuvenation I thought would occur. It hasn’t occurred. It’s gotten worse in my town.”
At a July 13 campaign stop in Roanoke, Va., Obama said that because government funds build roads, bridges and other infrastructure needed to conduct day-to-day commerce activities, small business owners owe government some credit for their success. More specifically, the president said, “If you’ve got a business— you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
While Democrats suggested the line was a syntax error, the quote personally offended McNamara.
“I think President Obama does not understand the risk to run a business,” McNamara said in a promotional video clip the GOP played during the news conference. “To take that initiative, to take everything you have and work as hard as you have and then to hear in some ways that we should thank our government for those … that was hurtful.”
Texas State Rep. Stefani Carter of Dallas said Obama’s economic policies have hurt women. She slammed Democrats for largely ignoring the stubbornly high unemployment rate during their three-day convention.
“I think Democrats need to make clear that the economy is the No. 1 issue for America,” she said.
“Many of the 23 million people who were unemployed and looking for work are women,” Carter offered. “We have to do better.”
Rep. Anitere Flores, a Florida lawmaker from Miami, said a wide ideological chasm exists between Romney and Obama.
“Last night, we were presented with a very clear contrast and a very clear choice between the Republican philosophy and the Democrat philosophy,” Flores said, referring to Tuesday night’s convention proceedings. “Speaker after speaker got up and talked about how government is the central role of their life.”
She said Romney, with experience from his private-sector experience, understands how to aid small business, while Obama does not.
“Do you want a president that believes in you, or do you want a president that believes in government?” the state lawmaker asked. “Do you want someone that understands that you can build it, or do want a president that says you can’t build it?”
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, a frequent Romney surrogate, said Obama’s policies haven’t worked for American families.
“Families wallets are thinner,” she said. “Gas prices have doubled. We are not better off than we were four years ago.”
Thursday marks the final day of the Democratic convention and the GOP counter-messaging effort, and Republicans may have saved their biggest star for last. It’s widely speculated that Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio will speak at Thursday’s news conference.