Mitt Romney returned to the crucial Interstate 4 corridor on Tuesday for the first time since securing the Republican nomination, and promptly ripped into President Obama as an "out of touch" leader whose health care legislation is weakening American business.
Romney took the stage at 9:55 a.m. to the sounds of "Born Free," a raucous country number by Kid Rock, and over the next 25 minutes blasted President Obama's Affordable Care Act and continued to tweak the incumbent about his claim that the private sector is "doing fine."
"The president as you know said that the private sector's doing fine. He is so out of touch with what's going on in America," Romney said.
Romney said America needs, "a president who is in touch with what is happening in America and I am."
He attacked the Affordable Care Act, standing beneath a banner that read, "Repeal & Replace Obamacare."
"I intend to do both if I am president at a time when the Supreme Court has left Obamacare in place," Romney said to sustained applause.
Romney also said if the Supreme Court is able to get that job done, he would replace it.
He would allow states to care for the uninsured with Medicaid money, give individuals tax breaks for buying insurance and retain the Affordable Care Act's prohibition against denying coverage for those with pre-existing conditions.
Romney said Obama cut Medicare by $500 billion to pay for his health care program. In fact, the Affordable Care Act would lead to a reduction in growth of Medicare spending by $500 billion over 10 years, but it would not be cut by $500 billion.
"I don't think (Obama) understands the power of free people pursuing their dreams ... I'm disappointed in a president who tries to attack success and divide the American people," Romney said.
Romney endorsed Mack, saying they "got to get him elected."
Standing before pink and blue fiberglass spools that spelled out Mitt in blue.
Romney also attacked the American Recovery Act, saying the president "borrowed almost a trillion dollars but used it to protect government." Romney also said one-third of the stimulus spending consisted of tax cuts.
Romney said Obama has out a moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. The moratorium was only put in place in the months after the Deepwater Horizon blowout and has since allowed for more drilling in the gulf than any president in history.
"The president is so out of touch," Romney said. "He doesn't understand how his policies have hurt this country. If we finally balance the budget and run in the size of the federal government is we get rid of Obamacare."
The Affordable Care act reduces the deficit compared to what it would have been without its provisions.
"We need a strong American for free world," Romney said.
Freshman congressman Dan Webster (R-Winter Garden) earned warm applause when he misquoted President Obama, saying repeatedly the president said "everything's fine" with the economy.
In fact, as Romney correctly noted later, Obama said the private sector job growth was "doing fine" in relation to the shrinking ranks of state and local employees.
Congressman Connie Mack, who is running for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, warmed up the crowd, urging them to help "take back the Senate" and "make sure this is Senator (Bill) Nelson's last term."