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Politics / Issues

Mitt Romney Campaigns in St. Petersburg, Tampa

Mitt Romney is in the midst of a campaign swing through Florida. Around noon, he appeared at a fundraiser at the upscale Avila development north of Tampa. Earlier this morning, he appeared before several hundred people at the Mirror Lake Lyceum in St. Petersburg. There, standing before a clock ticking up the amount of the national debt,  he went on the offensive against President Obama's economic policies.

"This president's comfortable with trillon-dollar deficits. I'm not. I'll stop that," he said. "This is a president who's comfortable in cutting our military. I'm not. I will stop that. This is a president who is not taking advantage of our energy resources. Instead, he's taking your dollars and investing it in some of the little businesses of his campaign contributors."

Romney then attacked the president for not reining in what he called runaway government spending.

"I find it incomprehensible that a president could come to office and call his predecessor's record irresponsible and unpatriotic and then do almost nothing to fix it. And then for every year to add more and more spending."

Meanwhile, outside the Lyceum, members of the "Occupy" movement rolled out a "red carpet" over the backs of several people sprawled on the sidewalk. Tampa activist and former city council candidate Kelly Benjamin explained why.

"The Republican agenda here is on the backs of the 99 percent," he said. "We figured there should be a visual representation here, so we put a red carpet out and we offered -literally - that they walk on the backs of the 99 percent."

Not everyone was taken by their antics. Julie Goodman of Palm Harbor says they have every right to lay down on the sidewalk in the rain - but they're not changing her opinion of Romney.

"I  like his genuiness, I love the fact that he knows business," she says. "Because I think our country is a business - as well as a beautiful country that we want to preserve. And so I think he'll take us on the right direction. "

This is expected to be one of several visits Romney makes to Florida before he's expected to be nominated at the GOP National Convention in Tampa in just over 100 days.  Romney's next stop in Florida is tomorrow afternoon in Jacksonville.