VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - Mitt Romney campaigned Saturday in Virginia Beach and presented a five-point plan to fix the economy.
Gov. Bob McDonnell introduced GOP presidential nominee Romney shortly after 2 p.m. and evangelist Pat Robertson sat directly behind the podium during rally at the Military Aviation Museum in Pungo.
"On Monday we got an announcement gas prices were highest on Labor Day in United States. Tuesday we woke up and found that the debt clock ticked to $16 trillion, the highest amount of debt in the history of United States we found out on the 43rd straight month, the unemployment rate was over 8 percent. 23 million did not have access to the American dream," McDonnell said. "[Obama] has been a bystander president," McDonnell said. "That's why we need Mitt Romney."
When Romney arrived, he hit the ground running, going through the Pledge of Allegiance bit by bit, even responding to the Democratic National Convention's kerfuffle on the party's stance on God.
"That pledge says, 'Under God,'" Romney said. "I will not take God out of our platform. I will not take God off our coins and I will not take God out of my heart."
Romney then went on to address the military, saying that the number of Navy ships has decreased from 600 to the high 200s.
"We're only creating nine new ships per year," Romney said. "I would increase that to 15 per year. You realize our Navy is smaller that its ever been since 1917? That's unacceptable. We need to have a rebuilding of our Navy to make sure it's the strongest in the world."
Romney did not spend much time discussing the defense budget and sequestration but pledged not to bring more military cuts. Billions in defense budget spending are scheduled to be cut in January, and Romney said the White House was responsible for bringing about sequestration and massive defense budget cuts.
"We're talking about a trillion dollars in cuts," Romney said. "The estimates on the kind of jobs lost in Virginia from these cuts is between 100,000 and 200,000. If I'm president, we'll get rid of these sequestration cuts and rebuild America's military might."
Romney directly expressed his disdain for President Barack Obama regarding what he called an injustice in a prosperous country. He said 47 million people are on food stamps now, in contrast with 32 million when Obama first took office. Romney then echoed McDonnell's opening statements of a struggling unemployment rate.
"With the unemployment level above 8 percent for 43 straight months, the president promised that if we let him borrow almost a trillion dollars, he'd never let it reach 8 percent," Romney said. "This president has not fulfilled his promises."
He said the president came off of the DNC without a plan and without ideas.
"We gotta make sure he does not have any more days in the White House after January," Romney said. "I have a plan."
Romney then went on to explain a five-point plan, including expanding energy policy, getting rid of Obamacare, expanding international trade to benefit the U.S. and improving education.
"I'm gonna get America energy independent in eight years," Romney said.
He pledged to double permits for on and off shore drilling and allow permits for drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and extend the Keystone Pipeline. His next step was improving education.
"I will put the kids and their parents first and I will put the teacher's union behind," Romney said.
Next, he said he wants international trade to benefit the U.S. by opening up new markets.
"When people cheat like China is cheating, I'm gonna say, 'No, that's not going to go on,'" Romney said.
He described his next step as cutting spending and getting America to a balanced budget in order to foster entrepreneurship. Romney said his fifth step would champion small businesses and their owners.
"I'm not gonna raise taxes on small business or over-regulate," Romney said. "I'm gonna get rid of Obamacare and replace it with something better. You do those five things, this country's gonna come roaring back."
President Barack Obama campaigned at Norfolk State University earlier this week , as well as at two Hampton Roads high schools in July.
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