White House hopeful Mitt Romney on Wednesday accused President Barack Obama of looking out for number one instead of fixing the plight of America's unemployed, as he bashed his rival for not convening his jobs council for six months.
In the midst of a campaign slathered with personal attacks, Republican Romney sought to refocus the debate from the controversy over his finances to a nagging Obama weakness the commander-in-chief's continuing inability to bring the unemployment rate below 8%.
"You would think the president would focus all of his energy and his passion on helping people get jobs," Romney told supporters at a campaign stop in Bowling Green, in the crucial battleground state of Ohio.
"But you know what he's been doing over the last six months? In the last six months, he has held 100 fundraisers," he sneered. "And guess how many meetings he's had with his jobs council. None. Zero," Romney added.
"His priority is not creating jobs for you. His priority is trying to keep his own job, and that's why he's going to lose it."
Obama created his 26-member Presidential council on jobs and competitiveness in January 2011, placing general electric chief executive Jeffrey Immelt at its head.
The appointment was at that time interpreted as a bid to rally the business world after Democrats lost the 2010 mid-term congressional elections.
Questioned about Romney's comments, White House spokesman Jay Carney said there was "no specific reason" why Obama had not recently convened the council, whose charge is to float ideas on how to boost jobs and American competitiveness.
"The president's obviously got a lot on his plate," Carney added.
"But he continues to solicit and receive advice from numerous folks outside the administration about the economy, about ideas that he can act on with Congress or administratively to help the economy grow and help it create jobs."
The Obama campaign has also pointed out that he presented a jobs plan to Congress last September, based on proposals of Immelt's council, but Republicans blocked it.
Campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith recalled a recent report by specialized periodical tax notes, which said Romney's economic plan would create 800,000 jobs overseas.
Obama joked about the study on Monday while on the campaign trail in Ohio.
In their campaign rhetoric, both Obama and Romney have described the November 6 election as a choice between diametrically opposed visions for America.
Obama says he wants to give priority to the middle class and let Bush-era tax breaks expire for the wealthiest Americans.
Romney, a multimillionaire former businessman and investor, says he supports keeping the tax breaks for everyone and easing the regulatory constraints on firms which he argues have hampered the recovery following the 2008 economic crisis.